Visit any preschool and you are likely to hear lots of praise and encouragement from teachers. The children, pleased with themselves, may smile in return.
Turns out, all that praise may not be such a great idea.
In fact, it might be furthering a new generation of narcissists, according to a BBC news report.
Carol Craig, chief executive of the centre for confidence and well-being in Scotland, recently warned educators that they are praising children too much, an idea she said had been imported from the U.S.
Craig told educators at a conference that “an obsession with boosting children’s self esteem was encouraging a narcissistic generation who focused on themselves and felt entitled.”
EarlyStories remembers visiting a preschool where the instructor pointed out to parents that merely praising children for, say, drawing a beautiful picture of a castle wasn’t terribly helpful. Instead, the praise should be targeted and specific; ie, “I like the way you drew that flag on top of the turret.”
That made some sense at the time. Craig is more about keeping educators on track as educators; they are not, she said recently “surrogate psychologists or mental health professionals.”
EarlyStories became curious about the whole issue of praise in the classroom and decided to see what some U.S. experts have to say. It would be interesting to hear what early childhood educators in the U.S. think of Craig’s views.