Tuesday, February 8, 2011

5 Steps to Constructive Criticism

We’ve received several emails from parents over the past few weeks regarding the use of constructive criticism. We wanted to share our general ideas on the subject for the rest of you who may be wondering, but just haven’t asked. First of all, constructive criticism is an excellent tool to help your child/student understand where they’ve gone off track and how they can get back on! It’s not about being negative…it’s about raising the bar, setting clear expectations and encouraging improvement. There are 5 basic steps to effective constructive criticism.

1. Plan Ahead

Know what you want to say and why. Leave room for questions and conversation. Try to be open and flexible.

One parent explained that her child seemed to be frequently distracted by his cell phone when he was supposed to be doing homework. She took the cell phone away during the hour he was supposed to be working each night, but he still seemed distracted. Her son explained that he couldn’t focus because he worried about missing calls and texts. Even though his mother didn’t understand her son’s concerns, they came to a compromise and she allowed him to take a break and check his phone every 20 minutes.

People, in general, seem to be more open to makes changes if they have some input in the changes that are being made. Everyone loves to have choices, especially students! Be open to their ideas and they'll impress you with how high they set their own expectations. Which leads us to tomorrow's topic... Focus on the positive!