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the reader who might have thought that praising another person was easy work,
and often simply satisfied by saying "Well Done!" or "Very Good",
here is a book which might change such views. Indeed, Hartley-Brewer tells us
that being able to appropriately praise one's children and/or students is
absolutely a subtle art. Furthermore, one's advice may well become unhelpful, unwelcome,
or even produce negative results, if praise be overused, or used in
inappropriate ways. Aimed at parents and teachers concerned with children of
all ages, this book certainly provides the reader with a series of useful,
child-centered advice and good-practice, and may be especially welcomed by
first-time parents and/or novice teachers in search of initial text/tips on
we do not fully agree with all of the views expressed, including the selection
of some of the specific examples and tips introduced in this book, there are
many reasons to take its content seriously. For example, Hartley-Brewer manages
to cover her chosen areas quite well, correctly (in our view) suggesting that
there are significant age ranges and gender differential factors to be
considered when praising our children/students. Moreover, the author reminds
the reader how praise might be delivered in a variety of effective ways, and
not only to rely upon the use of words, but also to include postural and
gestural approaches. Hartley-Brewer also includes a wide variety of exemplar
quotes provided by parents, teachers, school principals, daughters and students,
giving the reviewers the feeling that this book is not simply about listening
to a series of short lectures being delivered by the author, but instead
attempting to connect the reader with the primary sources being quoted.
welcome was the way Hartley-Brewer chose to end her book, linking the earlier
chapters in her last, "Praise and You", reminding one of the old
Chinese saying, "In order to beat people, one should win over oneself
first!" Pertinent to both parents and teachers alike, it would appear
important to realize that, if one does not readily believe in, and/or
appreciate, praise for oneself, how can one expect to be able to then act as a convincing
parent or teacher, honestly giving encouragements to one's daughter/students by
using praise effectively?
a little more critically, there are perhaps comparatively too few tips/advice
for teachers, relative to those provided for parents in this book, and it may
be that Hartley-Brewer thinks that girls spend more of their time with their
mothers at home, rather than with their teachers in school? Indeed, this book
is perhaps not really helpful in inspiring teachers to praise their students
per se, but teachers certainly will benefit in that they may develop
better communications with their student's parents (as a result of reading both
of the tips sections) and thereafter be able to provide better advice to
parents concerning how to further encourage their daughters by their more effective
use of praise! Further to this gender-specificity issue, it is noteworthy that
some 90% of the text also appears in the 'boys' version of this book, (and we
could not help feeling that the Praising Boys Well volume was perhaps
written from the point of view of helping fathers coming to a better
understanding, and thus better handling of, their sons). This issue is raised
by the reviewers here in cautioning the reader against expecting two very
different books -- but such should not be taken to detract from the usefulness
of either book taken alone.
not an academic, research-based laden book, this volume is nonetheless one that
we would recommend to be picked up, read and put alongside other welcome
additions to the bookshelf. This is a good first book for parents, and anyone
else working in the field of education wishing to boost their children/students'
self-esteem, confidence and personal potential, through the use of effective praise.
© 2006 Julia Hui and Tony Dickinson
Julia Hui and Dr. Tony Dickinson, PIC (Asia), Hong Kong, September, 2006.
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