The right way to give a compliment:
A young man showed his photos around at a dinner party and the hostess commented “you must have a good camera.”
Dinner was served.
When the meal was over the young man turned to the hostess and said “you must have good pots!”
This joke circulated as a “clean joke: suitable for use in class”
But really, for which age group? We learn nowadays that comments such as “good job” might not actually build an individual’s confidence, and that nearly all communication is suspect for having extra connotations: How then are teachers to effectively and thoughtfully encourage all students to further achieve while noting when in fact a particular student has done an exceptional job?
Here is hoping that more teachers will return to a simple question: “are you happy with it?” followed by “may I/we share it then?” and that slowly the ability to appreciate praise when genuinely offered will become a goal in classrooms so that on awards day one might not observe students so uncomfortable being singled out that they fear peer pressure; having spent a few years supply teaching and observing just such discomfort I hope that we may make room for the continuous practice of recognizing what standing up in front of the group demands, and not expect students to automatically be familiar with this activity.
And let us remember to indeed praise the work itself as well as the worker, finding something of value to back the praise. – Imagine how much more value the simple comment “oh what a lovely shot” may have held- rather like “what a delicious meal.”
Students really do want to know what the praise is for! This way they might be able to replicate the action.