Monday, 18 October 2010

The Happy Sandwich

I first met the Happy Sandwich when I started teaching and had to give feedback. It's a method where you say something nice about a student's work, then give the criticism, then end up with something nice again.

It's about basic psychology. We hear someone say something nice about us/our work so we immediately think that a) they know what we're talking about and b) we're more receptive to their feedback. And then, in case we're a bit cast down by the feedback, the sandwich finishes off with something nice for us to go home with.

We do it all the time. That colour looks lovely on you, really brings out the colour of your eyes. Is it a bit on the small side? And I'm not sure about the waist - perhaps it would look better with a different belt? But it's a beautiful dress, you're very clever to have found it.

I, along with thousands - millions? - of teacher use the Happy Sandwich. In my experience, people are more quick to hear the single word of criticism and take it to heart, rather than the other way around. I'm keen for the good elements to be acknowledged - heavens, for many of us writing anything is an achievement in itself - and it's all too easy to leap in with negativity.

But sometimes the Happy Sandwich goes wrong...which I'll write about tomorrow.

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