There seems to be a growing movement of people who thing that praise is bad for children, as for example on the Not School blog. The thesis seems to be:
A child who receives praise, rewards, and constant evaluation through testing and grading will tend to remain dependent on an authority to bestow a positive judgment. The academically successful child could grow up with the opposite of self-esteem-- we could call it other-esteem. Nor can I see how the current school system fosters intrinsic joy in learning or accomplishing tasks. And forget about independence, autonomy, and critical thinking. Too much "positive reinforcement" does not truly reinforce the individual; it engenders dependence.
This doesn't seem to be a mainstream phenomenon (though I stand to be corrected on that).
I understand the mainstream press typically advocates praise as a crucial role in the success of children. For example the BBC's article "The words that could unlock your child" states, i.e.:
This reveals a radical new approach to the way we engage with children - that we should praise effort, never talent; that we should teach kids to see challenges as learning opportunities rather than threats; and that we should emphasise how abilities can be transformed.
If, on the other hand, [a student] really believes that effort trumps talent - labelled the "growth mindset" - she will persevere. She will not see failure as an indictment, but as an opportunity to adapt and grow. And, if she is right, she will eventually excel.
While this article is only imply that praise is good, it seems to be advocating praise of effort instead of praise for results -- in other words, I read it to be saying "not all praise is good". Leading us to my skepticism.
What evidence is there to support the conclusion that certain types of praise for children are bad? Where "bad" means, as the article suggests, children forget about "independence, autonomy, and critical thinking" and the praise "engenders dependence". "Bad" also includes the consequences of this result.
Further: What evidence is there to support the conclusion that only certain types of praise are good, and in particular (a) only praising the efforts? or (b) only praising accomplishment?