Harry Chapin's "Flowers are Red" & Dweck's Achievement Motivation Theory

by bhthanks

Dweck's Achievement Motivation Theory, showing the impact of negative criticism, can be seen in Harry Chapin's "Flowers Are Red". A must-read for educators & parents!

"Harry Chapin's Flowers are Red is a song about a creative child whose creativity is thwarted by a well-meaning teacher who forces the child to color in a standard, conventional way.

Sadly, the boy conforms.This song raises many issues, one, its relevance about the effects of nurture upon self-concept. " (From Harry Chapin (1978), Living Room Suite, Elektra Records)

This article is a response with my thoughts to this song, which you can read more about on the links on this page to the wiki and you tube video.

I recommend that you play the you tube video on this page. Warning: It can be a tear-jerker!

Achievement Motivation Theory

Self-theories: Their Role in Motivati...
Psychology Press
$52.95  $27.36
Ready-to-Use Resources for Mindsets i...
Prufrock Press
$24.95  $13.65
Handbook of Competence and Motivation
The Guilford Press
$134.00  $78.78

Harry Chapin's "Flowers Are Red"

The impact and effect of negative criticism upon self-concept.

The first teacher should be encouraged to go to some seminars to change her own thinking and behavior in terms of parenting and teaching styles.

She is pessimistic, discouraging, critical, and quick to punish.

She does not show any understanding of children, child psychology, theories of motivation and the effects of praise and criticism on the child's self esteem and future potential.

She shows no appreciation for creativity, and has "black and white" thinking.

The boy has much potential.

He is equipped with a creative mind that sees the world in a colorful manner, and is eager to express it.

Yet the teacher is demeaning towards his nature and punishes him for his creativity to the point that this reinforcement and conditioning stunts him and teaches him to submit to the accepted format, and not express a mind of his own.

After being punished, he ends up agreeing with the teacher's words, and her lesson becomes so ingrained in him, that when he finally has another teacher that is optimistic and encouraging of creativity, his previous learned helplessness and submission to his former teacher's conditioning is still expressed in his art and words.

He no longer has the ability to think for himself.

It would take a lot of time and effort on the latter teacher's part to undo the effects of the actions of the former teacher.

This is in accordance with Dweck's model of achievement motivation, which shows that the source of patterns of motivation in children is more largely impacted by the feedback that they receive from adults, rather than by the child's own temperament.

Criticism has a very negative impact on children's self understanding and future performance potential.

To All Parents and Educators:

Please, encourage creativity in children.

Provide positive feedback and reward positive behavior.

Flowers Are Red- With Lyrics by Harry Chapin

Listen, watch and read along with the Lyrics

Do you agree with the first teacher or the second?

Wiki on "Flowers Are Red"

Flowers Are Red is a song written and sung by Harry Chapin. The song was released on his 1978 album Living Room Suite.

Achievement Motivation

Teachers and Parents! Motivate your kids!

image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Harry61880.jpg 

Harry Chapinat Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Date: 23 February 1980  Source: harry61880   Author: Cindy Funk

 

Updated: 02/26/2012, bhthanks
 
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bhthanks on 12/29/2011

Hi BrendaReeves, thank you for your comment! I am especially moved by Harry Chapin's "Flowers are Red", mentioned above.

BrendaReeves on 12/29/2011

I am such a Harry Chapin fan. I saw him at the Greek Theater in L.A. one year before he died. It was such a loss.

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