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Is it a problem if the teacher keeps praising DS for being clever?

(25 Posts)
Tirfarthoinn Fri 18-Sep-15 11:35:13

He is a super confident, very able six year old. We have always been on the side of praising his effort and hard work rather than his cleverness but his teacher and TA's seem blown away by his cleverness. They comment on it pretty much everyday and I normally reply in a fairly offhand way - sort of yes he is but he has always put a lot of effort in kind of comments.

I'm starting to think I need to pull them up on it as he is getting a little cocky and too self assured. We do tend to point out to DS that school will get harder I hope it does

var123 Fri 18-Sep-15 14:36:48

they say it but you reply? so they are saying it to you, not the child? Then what's the problem?

Sausagesforteatime Fri 18-Sep-15 14:38:46

If it's within earshot of the child, it could feed his cockiness, presumably?

Tirfarthoinn Fri 18-Sep-15 15:19:41

Within earshot of DS, he doesn't miss a thing. Also I think to him in class as he has started to say thing like "I am very clever you know" if we praise achievements

TwmSionCati Fri 18-Sep-15 15:22:58

I think it is very very dangerous actually.
This happened to my son at nursery and reception and so on, and after that he just thought 'oh yes I am clever' and did not make any effort.
Better to praise hard work than 'cleverness'.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 18-Sep-15 15:24:32

It also means that they tend to tie up their self worth in being clever. For some, when education finally starts to challenge this can be devestating.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 18-Sep-15 15:24:45

scuse the spelling!

TwmSionCati Fri 18-Sep-15 15:25:23

that is so true as well kitten.

Tirfarthoinn Fri 18-Sep-15 15:30:43

That is my thinking too, I'm happy for him to be confident but I want him to work at it too. He is as good at school as he is because he has worked really hard, relentlessly. But he is now finding it very easy and getting praised for doing not much at all.

yeOldeTrout Tue 22-Sep-15 10:29:59

Is there nothing he struggles with?

DoreenLethal Tue 22-Sep-15 10:32:36

Just tell them then!

Tirfarthoinn Tue 22-Sep-15 11:59:08

He is only six, but so far he is good at everything he tries. If he is not good at it he will persist until he is.

We are setting up a meeting with the school but I'm not sure how to broach it tbh.

var123 Tue 22-Sep-15 13:02:07

"If he is not good at it he will persist until he is."

That's great! What i wouldn't give to have either of my two have a slice of that.

I am certain the teachers have all heard the Carole Dweck soundbite about praising effort, not achievement, so you should be only reminding them of what they already know.

I can see why its not good for your DS to overhear more than once, but FWIW I think its nice that they are willing to show their human side and say this to you. (And I also think it probably means that they actually value the more able, rather than treat it as an inconvenient truth, so you win again!).

Would but I could honestly write your posts!

yeOldeTrout Tue 22-Sep-15 15:36:05

Judo? riding a bike? Climbing trees? Drama? Footie, swimming, singing, drawing?
Nobody is good at everything.

ceejoy Tue 22-Sep-15 16:06:39

I completely get your point but I think that you might come across as a bit precious and arsey to the staff. Working in a school with a similar age group we used the word clever to praise all the children, whether they were particularly gifted or struggled in school when they achieved something as it's a concept that kids that age understand and something they like to hear. Effort is always praised too and sticking at something challenging. They're probably just letting you know how he's doing.

PerspicaciaTick Tue 22-Sep-15 16:10:44

It seems a bit weird to set a 6yo a series of tasks until he fails, just so you can tell him he's not good at everything.
Much better the OP and the school focus on stretching his abilities so he as to work a bit harder to succeed.
I find reminding my DS about the things other people excel at (such as drawing, football, gymnastics and distance swimming) helps him keep perspective on his own abilities.

Tirfarthoinn Tue 22-Sep-15 19:13:48

YeOldTrout, I'm not sure I understand your point. He is only six there are lots of things he has never even tried.

ceejoy, that is exactly what I am worried about - I do not want to come across as that parent.

yeOldeTrout Tue 22-Sep-15 21:32:00

I think it's ideal if kids have things in their lives which are a challenge. They learn to rise to a challenge, they learn to keep trying their hardest even when they can't be one of their best. They learn it's fine not to be the best -- or even near the best. (They) You learn to admire others and to be happy for their successes even if you can't succeed as much at same things.

And finding those types of things for your son would help you with some of the problems you're worried about because he hears so much praise.

IguanaTail Tue 22-Sep-15 21:40:36

I wouldn't bother with a whole meeting about it. Just say you are worried he's crossing the line between confidence and arrogance and don't want him to decrease his effort. That's it. They can adjust in light of this.

var123 Wed 23-Sep-15 09:40:18

@Tirfarthoinn - your child is highly able. That means you cannot avoid coming across as that parent. Someone will think you must hot-house, even if you never, ever speak to the teacher outside parent's evenings at which you only demonstrate a polite interest and leave after 8 mins.

Noteventhebestdrummer Sat 26-Sep-15 15:08:17

I always answered a comment about clever DS with 'Yes he works very hard and that's the most important thing don't you think?'
It helped! Being clever isn't enough on its own to succeed academically or to become a lovely person.

Mistigri Sun 27-Sep-15 06:40:26

I think I might ask them to cut back on the more unhelpful type of praise - you might even print out a short article on the subject. I think many teachers would find this interesting and might review the way they praise other children, too. It depends whether you think the teacher is likely to be receptive, or not.

It's not really "that parent" behaviour to ask a teacher to stop being so nice to your child grin.

Incidentally, I have one exceptionally able and one able child and I must say I don't think I'm seen as "that parent" (though admittedly I'm rarely seen at all, as I quite often don't even turn up for parents evenings wink).

claraschu Sun 27-Sep-15 06:55:09

If you have this sort of all-round very able child, school will be absurdly easy for him or her. It can continue to be very easy, right through A-levels.

I think it is crucial not to equate value as a person with accomplishments or abilities. It sounds to me, OP, like you genuinely have the right attitude, and will be sensitive and perceptive enough to transmit this to your son. Good luck with dealing with society.

Obs2015 Sun 27-Sep-15 07:01:14

Throw it back into their court- Tell them the truth, say that you are a bit worried that "he is becoming a bit cocky and arrogant, saying that it's because he's SO clever" and see what THEY say?

Tirfarthoin Tue 29-Sep-15 19:26:57

Thanks everyone for your overall balanced replies. I suspect it was a term start problem as things have settled down a lot and no one has mentioned clever for a while.
DS is in year 1 but it is a mixed class with year 2 and he seems to be just getting on with the year 2 work for now.

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