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ERIC Number: EJ1054197
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1360-3124
Accolades or Achievement? Addressing the Unforeseen Consequences of Therapeutic Pedagogy
McWilliam, Erica
International Journal of Leadership in Education, v18 n1 p122-130 2015
In June this year, Wellesley High School became a focus of attention worldwide, following a graduation speech made by a teacher at the school. Departing from the traditional rhetoric of such ceremonies, English teacher David McCullough told the assembled graduates that they were neither special nor exceptional, but may well believe they were because they had been "pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, and bubble-wrapped, feted and fawned over", an effect, he argued, of Americans' "love of accolades more than genuine achievement" (Christakis, 2012, p. 1). This assertion struck a chord not only in his home country, but more widely in the Western world, with many educators, childcare workers and parents experiencing a sense of unease about the extent to which this claim was justifiable, and if so, what sort of corrective might be needed. Wellesley's shot across the bows of praise dependency followed hot on the heels of an article published in the "Journal of experimental social psychology" entitled "'It's ok--Not everyone can be good at math': Instructors with an entity theory comfort (and demotivate) students" (Rattan, Good, & Dweck, 2012). The article provides research evidence from a sample of first-year university students that appears to justify concerns about the downside of praise-dependency in young people. Moreover, it suggests that well-meaning teachers may be aiding and abetting student vulnerability, rather than student capability.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia; Massachusetts
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A