Sandwich criticism between two slices of praise, suggests Mr. Foteah. For example:
“Johnny, you obviously took a lot of time to write your letters really neatly, just like we have talked about doing. Now, I also noticed when I was reading what you wrote that maybe you could add some more details. I know that just like you’ve started writing neater, you’ll do a good job learning to add details to your writing.”
The praise has to be honest and specific.
I’m helping first graders with reading again this year. One child is having lots of problems, but she has learned more sight words. I pointed out her progress, very specifically, and she glowed. An aide, who was sitting nearby, smiled her approval. The other child, who’s slightly behind the class average, would have been an advanced reader by the standards of yesteryear.