Here’s a question: CAN YOU RAISE A CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM?
The answer is No!
Ian Gilbert (Independent Thinking Company) says:
Be aware that we cannot really raise someone’s self-esteem for them, as it is not yours to raise in the first place, hence the word ‘self.’ All you can do is to work to create an environment in which their capability and lovability starts to come through. 
So what are you doing within your class/school to promote lovability and capability?
The answer is all in the ‘praise’ that we give the children. Almost everyone enjoys praise; whether you are 7 or 70. It’s a pleasant experience to hear you have done something well; but praise should come with a health warning: If too much is used or it’s not targeted correctly it can be ineffective. Some practitioners give out praise like confetti but as you have no doubt guessed four fifths of it is wasted and falls by the wayside. Therefore (In keeping with the wedding theme) effective praise should be issued like the bouquet: directed and caught by just the one person. However, it goes without saying that we don’t face away from the children and throw praise over our shoulder.
When issuing PRAISE think:
P = PERSONAL: Aimed at just one individual
R = REFLECTIVE: The learner should be able understand they’ve received it.
A = ASSESSED: You, the teacher, should know why you are giving it.
I = IMMEDIATE: Catch them doing the right thing and praise immediately.
S = SENSITIVE: Not all children like being praised in front of others.
E = EFECTIVE: It should have a lasting impact on the learner.
There is nothing wrong with the Jim Bowen school of thought: lovely, smashing, super, great but if you want to promote effective sustainable learning you have to be concise with your choice and use of praise.
There’s a subtle but massive difference between:
“Well done Sally super writing.”
“Sally the adjectives you have used to describe your character are super.”
Sally will feel happy and contented with the first statement. However, in the latter statement she knows exactly what she needs to do next time if she wants to receive that sort of praise.
The giving out of ‘stickers’ to reward children for the learning is also beneficial but remember that gratification I child receives from a sticker lasts about as long as the adhesive on the back.
Knowing the difference between ‘Intrinsic’ and ‘Extrinsic’ motivation was our starting point for issuing praise.
Dealing with children who were extrinsic learners, I soon came to understand that they were mostly motivated by external factors: stickers, certificates, house/table points, postcards home or the weekly mention in assembly. Nevertheless, if (God forbid) they went a week without any recognition, this would have a major impact on their motivation and their ability to grasp new concepts within their learning.
On the other hand the intrinsically motivated learners sought their motivation from within – enjoying learning for learning’s sake. They got their excitement or ‘buzz’ from learning a new piece of information, a new skill or after successfully revisiting an item with which they previously struggled.
To summarise we have found it most beneficial to be more succinct and to the point with our praise. I’m not saying that we don’t, slip into the Jim Bowen role, you may still hear the odd well done, great answer, lovely explanation within our classroom.
But we now have a greater awareness and you are more likely to hear:
“Thank you Harvinder for that great question, you really got me thinking then.”
“Super Idea Joel, I can see you’ve used the text that we’ve read earlier.”
“James that’s the second time you’ve used that strategy to solve that divisional problem well done,”
How do you praise and the reward the children in your class? We would love to hear from you.
Lee & David (The Thought Weavers)
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 Source of Quote: Gilbert, Ian, Essential Motivation in the Classroom. (Routledge, Farmer,London) 2002. p.136