Friday, January 24, 2014

Neriza Sarmiento Saito

The Question Of:
To Praise Or Not To PraiseON THE ROAD TO:

July-August 2013

A few days ago I was talking to a colleague about  how effective praising has done for her son. After coming home exhausted from work, she was delighted when her junior high school son offered to wash the dishes, something that he has never done before!

In my long years of teaching here in Japan, sometimes I wonder why many teachers prefer to scold rather than praise students. Understandably, it could be a way to make students work harder. This is deeply rooted in the Japanese perception of humility and perfection. But for someone like me, who is generous with praises, I know for sure that the only way to see a smile in a child's lonely face are simple words like: Very good!  You did very well!  That's very nice of you!

I grew up in an environment where discipline and praise are a must. My parents were very strict! One day, a fire almost burned down the trees in our backyard because we played
"bahay-bahayan" with my younger brothers and sisters. We cooked rice in "palayok" and used matches to start a fire. When my parents came back home from work, we got the proper discipline we deserved 2 spankings each on our buttocks but I received an extra spanking because being the eldest child, I should have had the command of responsibility. My mother said that I should have told our maid that we were going to use the matches. However, after a long sermon, my father praised me for acting quickly to put off the fire and for bringing the younger children to safety. And that episode in my childhood days left a great impact on the way I treat my students that they must be responsible for the consequences of their own actions.

In the May-June issue of JP, I introduced the Uenomiya Taishi Global Studies Club members and their adviser Mr. YOSHIHIDE MARUYAMA. Their pictures will appear in this issue.
We apologize for not being able to print the pictures in the previous issue. Mr. Maruyama, who graduated from Kwansei Gakuen University is a teacher par excellence. His English classes are well structured, very functional and envigorating! Sometimes the students are required to memorize passages from a digital textbook using shadowing techniques. His strong belief that students should be exposed to global English led to their visit to the Philcongen. When the students gave a presentation to the student body after that visit, he praised the students for being able to recite in front of the  other students with confidence.
Recently, a new kind of glow can be seen on the faces of the GSC members. Takuya Namba, Chisato Sasaoka, Maki Oeda, Ohno Koki, Daiki Shiraishi, Yuma Aono and Jun Matsunaga and with the current adviser Mr. Yoshiaki Oshio. Through their activities at the GSC, they are able to observe and experience diverse cultures by studying languages other than English. It also affords them the chance to appreciate the uniqueness of individuals in relation to society, to prepare them to work in the emerging global society.

Who knows, a few years from now, some of them might be working at international companies or promoting “Cool Japan” overseas or might be interpreting at conferences?
As for me, I will continue to praise! It doesn't even cost a yen and the smile I can see in their faces will forever be my treasure!

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