In the 1990’s I worked for a brilliant child psychologist, Dr. Dennis Embry, who had created a “Peacebuilders®” positive school climate initiative adopted by many schools here in Tucson where we live and around the country. It was very effective in decreasing behavior problems in schools and making schools safer. Dr. Embry has gone on to create another evidence-based positive school-climate program, targeting both behavior and achievement, the “PAX GOOD BEHAVIOR GAME®,” which has been adopted by schools in many states in the US and several other countries. I had the honor to work on teachers manuals for both programs.
Both programs start with PRAISE. Children are taught to find REAL things to praise in other children and even in their adults. In PAX language, praise notes are “Tootles” and children post theirs on a bulletin board. This makes everyone feel good. It improves the self-image and self-confidence of both the praisER and the praisEE and sets a positive expectation for others instead of a negative, more fearful one.
But it does more than that. Several major studies have demonstrated the power of the PAX Game to also enhance student achievement. I mean who can learn if you are worried about bullies and put-downs and when learning is disdained by other students? The PAX Game does have specific “protocols” (teaching methods) for achievement, it isn’t through praise alone, but all of them are based on lifting students up and helping them to shine. We all respond to our inner self-fulfilling prophesy for failure or success. More PAX kids believe they will succeed and they do. How terrific is that?
Praise rocks in families and workplaces too, you know, and it can even help to build world peace if we learn to FIND and call forth the goodness at the core of our fellows. Try it at home for a week and see what happens.
Namaste, Gerry I love the LIGHT in you – and in all those adorable children who are learning how to succeed in relationships and achievement!