Praise has its value in workplaces and other social settings even today, as we shall see in the classroom. Discussion There is good praise and bad praise- what matters is the intention or motive behind the praise. We often see and despise the work of flatterers and sycophants as they rally around the boss or the leader heaping on false praise just to get a favor that they don’t really deserve. In fact the world of work can be divided into those that progress by their diligent efforts and those that move ahead by sweet talk and false praise. It’s the same thing in the classroom with apple polishers. It appears that this is an attribute learned from the home or the environment around us. As we see what works and what doesn’t, we often want to follow the false praisers. But we are sometimes held back by our values and beliefs that false praise is a bad idea. Indeed, sometimes the idea seems abhorrent to us and we want no part of it. On the other side are parents who praise their slow kids just to get them to do tasks that other kids are doing without so much effort. In Dweck’s article on the perils and promise of praise, she correctly points out that the present generation of kids and adolescents in schools and colleges want to be given praise and rewards without having made much effort. They demand it as a right, not a reward. Such type of praise can be self defeating and loses its value and impact over time. The right kind of praise should motivate students to learn (Dweck, 2007). In their experiments with students at 20 New York high schools, especially in classrooms where students were struggling, Dweck and others tried to use praise to increase student participation in learning and getting better grades. They found that students can be classified into two groups: those that believed that intelligence was inborn and limited, and those that believed that intelligence could be expanded by application and diligent effort. Even Alfred Binet, the inventor of the Intelligent Test or IQ was a believer in limited intelligence capacity. By having teachers praise students for their efforts in dealing with subjects where they were previously facing difficulty, one group of students was encouraged to work harder and as a result succeeded in getting better grades. On the other hand, believers in limited intelligence capacity made limited efforts to increase their learning capacity, and were often found struggling or giving up more easily than the other group. They also beloved that learning should be effortless if they were considered intelligent, and often felt embarrassed when told their shortcomings, even lying about marks achieved when told to self grade tests. The other group of students were not only found to make more efforts but were found to lie less too. In Mindset: the New Psychology of Success (Dweck, 2006) the author delves further into the concept of fixed versus growth intelligence. Most importantly, she mentions that mindset is not a personality trait; rather it can be worked upon to improve our relationships with people and at the workplace. Thus a fixed mindset leads to limited results, while a growth mindset enables you to expand your efforts in order to achieve success and prosperity. It can also make you optimistic or pessimistic in your outlook. But the good news is that mindset can be changed to get more positive results at
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