Critique or Criticize? This is the Crucial Question!

According to MARTINA G. MCGOWAN, constructive criticism is an important part of maximizing motivation.

Look After Everybody! (Calgrin)

In the book Virtual and Traditional Jigsaws in the Classroom, we have established that students can aspire to provide resources such as wooden and virtual jigsaws by making them themselves.  They accumulate to create a classroom resource.

The selection process involved in choosing which jigsaws to fine tune and publish could be thwart with problems unless the students have been taught how to critique art as they progress through the year. In another post we talked about the idea that “form follows function”. If the students have been given guidelines about what attributes will be chosen and the function the jigsaw is to perform is listed, they will have guidelines to follow during the selection process.  (Such as the message and the utility of the jigsaws.)

Students will soon accomodate to the idea that in appraising the jigsaws for selection purposes all they have to do is choose the one that best suites the purpose and fulfils the selection criteria. To some teachers teaching students how to do this seems a little too obvious. But no! Students need to be taught how to follow selection criteria and how to follow style guides. More discussion about this will take place under the category Style Treatment.
Click to Mix and Solve

Being taught how to critique is like a bonus – the icing on the cake.

If you are trying to help motivate others, you should know the valuable difference between being critical and offering constructive criticism. What you have to say must always be constructive and not damaging. Beating another person down will not help them become more motivated. But it can discourage them enough that a situation or relationship that may have been salvaged goes bad.  (McGown 2013)

If the selection sessions are purposively empowering, each jigsaw will be subjected to a check list and each student given constructive criticism. Often it is wise to let the student be the first to speak so that they can acknowledge what they see has gone wrong. (or right) From there simply go through the list pointing out what works and what doesn’t.  Always offer suggestions and be sure that every student has a work included in the virtual gallery.

Daily, you need to bring positive reinforcement into your mind along with truly constructive criticism.
When you are thrust into a position of leadership, your primary task is to move yourself and your team toward the joint vision. You can try to do this by browbeating people (students) and making them tow the proverbial line. Or, you can do this by finding your sweet spot in motivating yourself and others by positive and uplifting means. The best results are usually obtained, when you try to make most situations win-win. (McGown 2013)

I would like to stress that leaving constructive feedback until the end of projects, when it is too late for the student to self correct, just won’t do.  Flipping the classroom frees up the teachers time for facilitation.  Student centred teachers have released themselves to be the coach and guide along the way. This is a serious proposition!


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