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Teacher Tried To Cripple Me

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Heyyo. Last Friday I went to my first day at a home school speech and debate class. There I found out that the teacher doesn't believe in constructive critisism. That we could only tell the speaker what we liked about his/her speech, but not what they needed to improve. In only pointing out what is good in my speech, gestures, voice she is crippling me from the real world. Now even though I'm only in high school, I know full well that in the real world the person with a whispering voice does not get the job, sell the product or win the debate. I know that in order to become a better speaker I have to fix my mistakes and master everything required in a good speaker. As a result I dropped the class.

Also she said I had a natural talent for speaking, which is not the case. I use to have a very low self-esteem. I had many types of classes and situations where I pushed myself to BECOME a better speaker. I pushed to get good at newscasting, speaking, acting and I even did a poetry slam which scared me to death. However, afterwards I became more articulate, confident and well suited to stand in front of an audience. I did not gain that by baby-ing my self-esteem.

This post is mostly just me venting. However, if you have any comments or have encountered similar situations, post them please. ~GoodyTooShoes

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I agree that the "only positive comments allowed" method can be quite shallow. If you're stuck with such a situation, perhaps the best you can do is to build on the positive comments (for example, "If they said my pauses were effective, then I'll remember to put them to work in other speeches too."), meanwhile perhaps making a list of the aspects that were not commented upon, since these have a chance of being the ones upon which negative comments would have been given if allowed.

Edited by LauricAcid
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I think what your teacher was doing was trying to avoid this:

you: what did you think?

other person: well... it was... good... I guess

It fully depends on the context. A good leader can do either. I've seen great leaders of both types.

A successful businessman once told me "if you can't take criticism, you can't get better."

It's good advice, two of my best professors ever were men who thought "constructive criticism" was hippy hogwash. Your papers always came back full of red ink. But that red ink was ways to improve, those criticisms were methods of pointing out descrepencies in one's own work, in order to improve it. You better believe that after he stamped an F on the first essay to include a comma splice, no one ever did that again.

Remember, Henry Cameron didn't believe in Constructive Criticism. And he was one of the fountainhead's most memorable characters. those two old professors of mine in fact, remind me of Henry Cameron.

Edited by the tortured one
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I think what your teacher was doing was trying to avoid this:

you: what did you think?

other person: well... it was... good... I guess

It fully depends on the context. A good leader can do either. I've seen great leaders of both types.

A successful businessman once told me "if you can't take criticism, you can't get better."

It's good advice, two of my best professors ever were men who thought "constructive criticism" was hippy hogwash. Your papers always came back full of red ink. But that red ink was ways to improve, those criticisms were methods of pointing out descrepencies in one's own work, in order to improve it. You better believe that after he stamped an F on the first essay to include a comma splice, no one ever did that again.

Remember, Henry Cameron didn't believe in Constructive Criticism. And he was one of the fountainhead's most memorable characters. those two old professors of mine in fact, remind me of Henry Cameron.

I really liked what you said about the red slashes. I was actually thinking about that when I was thinking about her..lets call it..philosophy? I see red slashes as a mean to improve, like stair steps or a tiny challenge.

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If you have been home schooled most of your life than you have already avoided many of the crippling teachers. In K-8th grade I went to a unique public school, but in many ways it was also representative of the worst parts of the public school system.

The school was named after the environmentalist Aldo Leopold. The goal of the school was to let children learn at their own pace, but this often meant that bright students who didn't care for school were left to neglect it. We called our teachers by their first names, which isn't terrible in and of it's self, but was indicative of the lax attitude toward discipline.

We had no objective grading scales, and had a "game time" that was supposed to be for students who were done with all of their homework. I never was, but I got game time anyway. One day I was awakened by a student who was looking for me while I was sleeping in class, and I heard the teacher say "Shhh.... Jake is sleeping."

This type of schooling was bad for me, but it was terrible for my brother. My brother had a severe case of dyslexia, and the final answer from the city school system was that he simply would not be able to read. He had a first or second grade reading level in 10th grade, and he was a hard worker. My parents sent him to a school in New England called Landmark that was geared toward dyslexics. It was simply a school that used the best teaching methods and demanded superb work ethic. Over his four years there he raised his reading level to that of a 12th grader. He then went on to graduate tech school. He has a modest job and kept the amazing work ethic, and now has a lot more confidence.

There were some teachers at the school who were great. I heard one of the good one's resignations was forced for having an "inappropriate" relationship with a student and his parents. Basically, the teacher stayed after school, helped the kid with his work, and the union didn't like it.

My high school years were more conventional. There were some terrible teachers, and some amazing teachers. The terrible teachers were not intent on crippling anyone; they just didn't know what they were doing.

GoodyTooShoes, you seem bright. In the Wisconsin school system, the bright can not be crippled, but they often will have a hard time achieving their potential. I think you'll do well.

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I think what your teacher was doing was trying to avoid this:

you: what did you think?

other person: well... it was... good... I guess

It fully depends on the context. A good leader can do either. I've seen great leaders of both types.

A successful businessman once told me "if you can't take criticism, you can't get better."

It's good advice, two of my best professors ever were men who thought "constructive criticism" was hippy hogwash. Your papers always came back full of red ink. But that red ink was ways to improve, those criticisms were methods of pointing out descrepencies in one's own work, in order to improve it. You better believe that after he stamped an F on the first essay to include a comma splice, no one ever did that again.

Remember, Henry Cameron didn't believe in Constructive Criticism. And he was one of the fountainhead's most memorable characters. those two old professors of mine in fact, remind me of Henry Cameron.

I know what you mean. I had a hockey coach who was the same way, a brooding, cynical bastard who was never satisfied with "it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game." I played better under him than I have in years since graduating from high school. I think that a positive environment is all and well and good as far as making people feel better (aaaww..) but let's not kid ourselves about how the west was won.

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When I was first in the US, I had to manage two young programmers. They'd show me stuff they'd done, and I'd comment. One day, I was taken aback, when one of them asked me exasperatedly: "Do I ever do anything right?"

I was taken aback because she was very hard-working and her work was mostly up to the standard of what I'd expect from someone of her experience. A little discussion ensued, in which I realized that when I pointed to something and said: "This line is wrong", I meant my unspoken message to be "everything else is fine". If I saw something really good, I might comment; but, something that was simply "up to standard" got no remark. She, on the other hand, was used to being told something on the lines of "this is good" for average work, "this is excellent" for good work, and "you might take a second look at this" for corrections.

When I thought about it, I realized that I should be more clear about my evaluation of the whole work and only then comment on the specific good or bad within it. On the other hand, when teachers and managers put politeness above truth, that's obviously harmful to everyone involved. Your example is of teachers, but I have seen this attitude creep into managers (particularly in larger firms)... no surprise if it is part of "the culture". For every rude manager, I have also seen managers who are severely handicapped in getting good work from their employees because they are so busy trying to treat their subordinates with kid gloves!

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I have spent my whole life in public school. I was never, ever challenged, and I ended up failing classes as a result - why bother, when I already knew everything?

The only time I worked semi-hard at all was when taking the exit exam at 16, and passing wonderfully. Been in college ever since - hardly better. But educating myself is the biggest concern of mine, now. I buy books, etc in my free time and tutor myself as best I can. To be frank, most instructors these days aren't worth it.

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