Resources and Tools for Elementary Math Specialists and Teachers

Sensitive students

This discussion is part of a collection:Fostering CCSS Practice Standard 3

Often times students can be sensitive to criticism, especially from their peers. What do you do in your classroom to make it okay to voice your opinion and not worry about how your classmates will respond? What do you do to make it okay to critique others, even your friends, in the classroom?


One idea to help students accept the ideas given in a critiquing session is to follow the routine of:

1. Notice one thing you like about the work. (in other words, valuing)
2. Wonder one thing that you don't understand. (in other words, question the accuracy or the strategy or maybe just the way the solution is being communicated -- not complete enough or not clear enough)

There's nothing like starting out with praise to soften the criticism. If the classroom culture includes valuing but also questions that help the critiqued person reflect and revise, then everyone is working together to improve and not to discourage improvement.


I like this strategy! And if everyone has to follow it, then it doesn't become personal!