Saturday, June 8, 2019

Don't talk bad about people

A Reddit user, strokesurviver52, writes about an interesting way their art teacher gave feedback to students:
I learned from an art teacher about how to talk about people. I'd watch him evaluate student work: if it was atrocious art he'd say it was "interesting" and "Tell me about this work!" If it was only a tiny bit messed or looked incomplete, he'd say "I like the potential energy in this one. Have you thought about exploring this further?" and if the student had failed the assignment completely "Can you explain these shapes and what motivate you to finish this way?"

He NEVER criticized and at the time I wondered why everyone was being treated that way by him (ever see "special" kids get awards at sports events just for attending?) I felt like we were being treated like "special" kids who need to be rewarded just for trying. Yet this same instructor also put up excellent work for display (much like someone's Mom hanging your art work on the fridge.)

Later in life as uncomfortable situations came up I'd think back to that man's noncommittal way of offering criticism without dashing the hopes of budding artists, and discovered it actually works. People don't want truth; they want to be acknowledged and it doesn't take much work to come up with neutral talk no matter who you are speaking with, especially if confronted by anyone higher up on the employment tree than yourself. (This is also how so many brown nosers keep their jobs even while disgusting the rest of us.)

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