Sunday, May 18, 2008

My favorite List

A few posts back I shared Chick Moorman's 10 Best and Worst things to Say to Your Students, I promised to share my favorite list; so here you have it.
During my training I had the opportunity to attend several lectures given by Sister Anthonita Porta, O.P. I can not say enough wonderful things about Sister Anthonita; she is an inspiring teacher, entertaining and joyous person, a Spiritual Montessorian. I adore her!
This list is from her "Teaching to a Child's Spirit" lecture. During this lecture she talked at length about the differences between Evaluative and Appreciative and Descriptive praise.
The titles pretty much say it all but I will define them briefly for you.
Descriptive Praise:
Praise given that describes child's behavior, quality of work or accomplishments.
Often used when making observations about art work, practical life works, or performances.
"I see you created green by mixing yellow and blue."
"I noticed you put away the red rods one at a time and carried them carefully."
Appreciative Praise:
Praise that is given to show appreciation for following ground rules, being helpful, kind etc. (the behavior we desire whatever that may be at the time)
"Thank you for raising your hand."
"I appreciated your cooperation on the play ground today."
"I observed that you finished the 100 board, would you like to help our friend Tommy get started with the material? You would! Thank you."
"Thank you for collecting the library books, that was very helpful."
Evaluative Praise:
Sister Anthonita referred to this type of praise as 'meaningless'. She said it is the verbal equivalent to a pat on the head or a gold star sticker. This confused me and most of my fellow students because we were all raised hearing these types of comments and have come accustom to using some of them ourselves. But after she explained I came to understand what she was saying. I personally do often used "Wonderful" and "I'm proud of you." with my own children.
But I also understand her point and try to use my observation skills whenever possible.
"Good work."
"Good job"
"Nice work"
"I'm proud of you."
"You are so good!"

Dear Sister, If you are reading this...
These few words can not express my admiration and my appreciation for having met you in my life! Thank you for all you've done for children, teachers, parents, and our earth!

Montessori Mama


plaidshoes said...

I have been working on this, especially in the classroom. It is very difficult because the Evaluative phrases are so ingrained in us! I find it very hard to change the habit!

Umbilal said...

Hi there.
I love your post, simply because they are golden words. And because Sr. Anthonita said them. I just finished my training two days ago and my heart is breaking. I emailed this link to her as it will make her very happy.
I also do agree how hard it is to find the right words to make them descriptive not evaluative, it just takes practice and a lot of self-training.

Umbilal said...

Sr. Anthonita is thanking you for your nice words. She was indeed happy with your comments.

Mama H said...

I am sitting here in shock as I just learned that Dr. Sister Anthonita Porta died this afternoon. Evidently she died suddenly and died laughing. She touched all of our hearts so profoundly. I found your blog when I typed her name into Google to show my daughter her beautiful photograph so she could put a face to the person for whom I have been mourning this afternoon. Thank you for reminding me of some of her precious words. I am happy to read about you and your work; I too received my Montessori training from Dr. Sister Anthonita and feel kinship with you. Warmly, Heather Gray

SayLee10 said...

Sr. Anthonita,
You will be missed! Thank you for all you have done for our children.

Anonymous said...

Saddened by the passing of Sister Anthonita Porta...honored to have been her student...Namaste' SA

Umbilal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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