Updated: Feb 7, 2022
Where you put your focus has a powerful effect on the attitude of your children or students. It is often easier to see the flaws and note what was missed in a student’s work or performance than to see what went well.
As teachers or parents who want students to do well, it’s easy to forget that when children are learning something new, they can't possibly get it all right. At Rise & Shine Debating, we’ve always found that when students are learning new skills, being reminded of what they did well on their first attempt has a big impact on their motivation. Focusing on what students have achieved so far helps students feel like they have gained a new foothold as they’re climbing a mountain. Something that we do when we’re debriefing a debate with students is to encourage them to first consider all the things that they did well before thinking about what they can improve next time. When students start with what they need to improve, it’s easy for them to get stuck in listing all of the things they are still working on and adding something they did well as an after-thought with less importance placed on it. A student might say something like, “in my debate I got the audience's attention, I gave my whole talk, I wrote some rebuttal to help Speaker 3! My team and I completed a debate! What an achievement. And next time I will have more eye contact."