Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Día 32 - Criticism

In his book Fluency Through TPR Storytelling, Blaine Ray recommends reading How to Win Friends and Influence People.

In the first chapter, the author talked a lot about criticism.  Whether it be obvious or not, most people don't really like criticism.  As a result, we tend to just tear down the walls of a relationship for nothing.  I was thinking about this the other day in my interactions with my wife.  I found that there were times when I would word something and would be quick to point something out that didn't really need to be said.  It came off as criticism and she didn't respond well to it.  I noticed she drew away fro me as the day progressed.

This helped me to further see the validity in what the author was writing about.  My wife is not a child by any means.  Nevertheless, my criticizing her is something that causes a tension in our relationship.  Her response is to withdraw emotionally and physically.  She walks away and ignores me.

As a teacher, so many people are quick to criticize one another.  I have found on my YouTube videos that people filter themselves much less and are so quick to point out mistakes and less quick to point out positive statements.  That's human nature though.  We know what standard things should measure up to in our minds.  Then we try to impose that set of rules on someone else based on our observations and contextualized understanding of the way the world works.

Nevertheless, what is the point in criticism?  It seems to me that more than anything else, it is to humiliate a person and build the ego of the critic.  As a teacher, my students are just humans with flaws.  All of them are insecure in one way or another.  I hope to foster a warm caring and nurturing environment in my classroom so that they can feel safe enough to have fun with the Spanish language in class.  Our storytelling relies on them feeling comfortable enough to shout out goofy suggestions.

But when I criticize them, they aren't going to want to do much of anything.  I must break this habit.  Not just as a teacher but as a person.  I must make sure to remind myself of people's different perspectives and to not criticize anymore.

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