So Master 3 is right into making paper aeroplanes.  He usually relies on me for some good help to make it but today he caught me as I was multitasking washing up and making Master 1’s lunch.  I thought I’d give it a go with verbal instructions…

‘Fold it in half’ – and wow he got it.  ‘Now fold one of those corners back to the middle’.  So he takes the double-sided corner and starts folding.  I was about to say ‘no you’ve got the wrong one!!!!!’ when I bit my tongue.  I do like to get things just right but realised, ‘what does it really matter?’ on this occasion.

So I said no more and Master 3 continued on thinking he was doing a great job by himself (he was trying so hard!) and I kept giving the instructions.

Instead of a ‘paper aeroplane’, Master 3 ended up with some folded paper.  But do you know what?  It ‘flew’ about the same way as any of his proper paper aeroplanes so he didn’t notice any different!!!  AND he was so proud of himself.

Instead of saying ‘well done!’ or the usual praise, I developed his intrinsic motivation further.  ‘You made it by yourself!!!  And it flies!  That looked like a lot of fun!’.  See Kara’s post for further information on intrinsic motivation – Don’t become praise junkies!