How To Criticize – And Not Be Hated For It + Talking About Your Own Mistakes First

“Many people begin their criticism with sincere praise followed by the word “but” and ending with a critical statement. For example, in trying to change a child’s careless attitude toward studies, we might say, “We’re really proud of you, Johnnie, for raising your grades this term. But if you had worked harder on your algebra, the results would have been better.” – Dale Carnegie

As a teacher, I try not focusing on the problem at hand. EVER. Instead, I try using this technique.  It’s kind of like this, if my student wrote a wonderful essay (but made a few grammatical mistakes), I will give as much praise as possible then correct the mistake in front of them without saying anything – simply stating it after and they’ll realize it without hearing me actually critique them.  It’s somewhere in the realm of “echoing.”  If my student uses grammar incorrectly, I say it the correct way for them to hear it and repeat it…and this works 90% of the time.

I see a lot of teachers stop the conversation to correct the student; resulting in a loss of confidence, which ultimately makes them afraid to speak English.

“My niece, Josephine Carnegie, had come to New York to be my secretary. She was nineteen, had graduated from high school three years previously, and her business experience was a trifle more than zero. She became one of the most proficient secretaries west of Suez, but in the beginning, she was—well, susceptible to improvement. One day when I started to criticize her, I said to myself: “Just a minute, Dale Carnegie; just a minute. You are twice as old as Josephine. You have had ten thousand times as much business experience. How can you possibly expect her to have your viewpoint, your judgment, your initiative—mediocre though they may be? And just a minute, Dale, what were you doing at nineteen? Remember the asinine mistakes and blunders you made? Remember the time you did this… and that…” – Dale Carnegie

Does this paragraph relate to anyone? Are we perfect ALL the time? Are we even perfect half the time? Before you start judging anyone who is younger than you, imagine you being the same age and doing the same things they’re doing.  These are the growing pains and learning years of adolescence.  Don’t be too critical.

I also had a situation yesterday where I confronted the staff at my condo, telling them that my water bill was too high.  However, just two months ago, my toilet was constantly running and I didn’t think for ONE MINUTE…that I should report it.  Because I didn’t report it, I had a 800% increase on my water bill and 400% increase the month before.  Admitting your mistakes gives you a sense of peace, but don’t be too critical on yourself…as I was yesterday.  These things happen.  Don’t start calling yourself names because of not reacting the way you would have wanted to.


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