When handing back work, ending a class, or reflecting on artwork, we as art teachers often hear the words “Mine is so bad!” I like to say this:
I see you are unhappy with your work. I think one of these things might be happening:
You are fishing for compliments.
This is a very age appropriate way of getting grown ups to say “No, you are amazing! Your work is so beautiful!” If this is the case, I like to ask the child to identify which parts they are most proud of. I then try to use specific praise….Alfie Kohn style, because, as he puts it we do not want to create “praise junkies.” (Read the article, it is good!)
You are genuinely not pleased with your work yet.
If this is true…..let’s dig a little deeper. This moment is what artists go through! I remind kids to be proud of this discontent, as it means that she is really committed to doing her best work…..and that she is not there yet (growth mindset-hooray!) This is what artists do, they engage and persist, as Studio Thinking reminds us! (Another essential read and Ted Talk)
You do not know how to be proud of yourself.
This is definitely an issue for some kids, and is why I am motivated to teach. I have this poster (below) that I always show the student and whisper (I have that poster for you!) It takes time to learn how to be proud of yourself….and practice too. I remind them, that is why we are here! (Check out the fabulous Ted Talk link!)
What do you say to your students when they have negative self talk?