|collaborative circle painting|
I forgot about how important this was until a student reminded me. Here's a recent story of why NO JUDGEMENT days are important to kids development.
Long after I introduced NO JUDGEMENT DAY my quietest student said
"My last teacher used to hold up my work all the time and tell everyone it was good. I like that you don't do that."
"Didn't it feel good to know your teacher liked your work?" I asked thinking maybe he actually missed this positive praise.
"It would make the other kids feel like their work wasn't as good and that made me feel bad. I just like to make art. I don't want my friends to feel like they're not as good as me."
I felt bad all around. The teacher probably thought he/she was doing a great thing by showcasing his work. Meanwhile, this quiet, sensitive, kid who I hardly knew myself was probably not gaining much favor with friends.
It's really important to be careful how we talk about students work. We are all guilty of rushing our comments, me included, so let's make a point to slow down every so often. Even positives can be damaging when they are not used in a thoughtful way. Try a no judgement day for the fun of it, especially with the older students. It's harder then it sounds! Most importantly, talk about a NO JUDGEMENT day before you start it! You'll be surprise what a weight is lifted from classroom and how better communication will be developed when we are all forced to go beyond positive reinforcement and constructive criticism!