Reply To: The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones.

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University: Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Nationality: China
February 7, 2021 at 12:56 pm

The recommendation suggests that praising positive actions while ignoring negative actions be the optimal way to teach. However, this recommendation is problematic since only receiving praise but failing to correct students’  faults could ultimately harm the learners.

If teachers ignore students’ mistakes, students will keep their faults and fail to obtain correct knowledge. Learning involves exploring new things and obtaining the right solutions to various problems under certain instructions. Students will continue their false actions unless teachers point them out. For instance, in school, teachers need to review students’ homework and mark the mistakes in their answers. Hence, students will learn the right solution when the same problems face them. But if his fault is ignored, the learner will fail to give the correct answer and replicate negative actions again when the same problem occurs again. Thus, ignoring negative actions makes learners keep making the same mistakes.

Moreover, only praises and ignorance of negative actions will harm the further development of learners. By doing this, learners will be trapped in the illusion that they are perfect. Even if they are doing unreasonable actions, they assume these actions correct. Appropriate statements of mistakes can help learners develop habits of critical thinking. When Obama educates his daughter Malia, he occasionally points out some faults and helps her form a better personality. If an instructor always ignoring the learner’s faults, the learner cannot actively judge his actions and hamper his development. Hence, critics are essential considering the overall development of learners.

Despite these, praises on positive actions from instructors are also essential. By doing this, students can become more confident and be encouraged to continue their positive behaviors. Mary Curry and her husband always praised each other and admired the other’s contributions to science. It was their confidence and willingness to continue science work that led them to great success. Therefore, instructors should not only point out learners’ faults moderately but also continue to praise students’ positive actions.

In a nutshell, the best way to teach is not paying too much attention to praises and choosing to ignore those faults. Doing so will neither correct students’ current mistakes nor have positive impacts on their further development. Instead, combining moderate praises for good performance and appropriate statements of negative actions is the best way. Such teaching methods can help learners achieve success currently or in the future.