Larry Ferlazzo is a dedicated teacher who has a weekly practice that I can't help but admire. It only takes a portion of his lunch time and it probably really makes someone's day.
"I walk around campus spotting students — either ones I have now or have had in the past — and they are usually with some of their friends. I go up to the group, point out that student, and say something like, “Did you know that there is no harder worker in my class than _______?” or “Did you know that there are few other students who help their classmates more than _______?” or some other comment singling out that particular student for something that they do especially well.
Those students, though they may feign embarrassment, love it.
In fact, it’s not unusual that one of their friends — who I don’t know — will say, “What about me?” I quickly respond, “If you were in my class, I’m sure I could say the same thing about you.”
I have, and continue to have, many students who face lots of challenges, and it’s safe to say that many don’t get the kind of positive feedback they deserve.
A little public acknowledgment can go a long way."
I am going to try this. I think there are all sorts of things we can say to our students that point out their strengths. Making a point to do this at least once a week is a great idea.