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Great Expectations

Nikky

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about ‘praise’ - this week, I’d like to deal with it’s cousin ‘expectation’.

That voice that comes from inside us, telling us not to even bother trying, because we’re just no good at it; telling us we are and always have been hopeless at maths, spelling, art or whatever  - that voice came from somewhere.

I bet that if you relate to that, you also know where and when that voice started for you. You know which teacher told you you couldn’t draw, which test you failed or what event exposed your weakness.

I’ve worked with children of primary school age who are so used to being told off (I suspect at home as well as in class) that you can see their negative self-image already taking a firm hold - despite their youth. They are learning to write themselves off as no-hopers, always in trouble, no prospects. It’s even more prevalent in secondary, and it can be a difficult pattern to break.

I do believe that (and there is research to back this up) if you make it clear that you expect great things of children and young people, they will be much more likely to rise to that expectation. There are aspirational seeds in all of us, and each one will stand a chance of growing until that particular hope or dream is dashed.

However in the effort to nurture our children by letting them know that we believe in the best of them, we must be careful not to lay on too much pressure. If we become like the father whose response to his little girl’s excitement at coming second in class is to coldly demand, “Come and tell me when you come top”, then we may inadvertently be engendering exactly the opposite reaction to the increased striving and self-belief we were hoping for.

It can be a tricky balancing act, but it becomes easier when we apply the secret weapon that has the power to save us all from the potentially detrimental effects of the stress of perfectionism: love.

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Teach EYFS Article - Trivialising Feelings

Nikky

Here is the latest in my series of articles based on conversations with children, first published in Teach Early Years magazine. In each piece, I focus on one prominent theme. For this one, it’s TRIVIALISING FEELINGS. My thanks to editor Jacob Stow for allowing reproduction, and if you want to know more, details of this and their other magazines and resources are available at: https://www.teachwire.net

* What annoys you about how adults speak to you?
* When I'm crying and they say, 'You're just tired.’  
      (G - female)


During this little girl’s short interview, she mentioned this issue twice in slightly different ways. No doubt something had happened recently that made this perceived injustice so fresh and raw, but what lies underneath is a common source of upset.

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I Have to Praise You Like I Should

Nikky

Do you think you received enough praise as a child? Or maybe you received too much? Do you think you praise your children enough? Or too much? Do you see any connection between your own experience regarding praise as a child and how you behave now as an adult? 

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Nikky

Last week I spoke about how children are often willing and able to embrace complex vocabulary, and I’d like to expound on that here.

Never be afraid to use a long word with a young child. Children love playing with language and long, complicated words can be fabulously alluring. 


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What Did You Say?!!

Nikky

We all have memories of secrets hidden from our parents and other grown-ups, of wanting to mark out the territories in our lives where they were not allowed to go. Sometimes these can be physical spaces, whether a private meeting place or a den or the sacred inner sanctum of a teenager’s bedroom, and sometimes the boundaries are more conceptual.



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