Let’s face it. Criticism has…

…become a dirty word.

CRITICISM. Magnifying glass over different association terms.

Pick up any thesaurus and you’ll find “criticism” in the company of “nit-picking, objection, disapproval, and objection.”

The truth is criticism doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

In the last several months now, we have given perspectives on Prince George’s county public schools whenever we can. This is in line with democratic ideals. A democracy is a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Thus, the public opinion is an important aspect. The people in turn could hold the government accountable and change it, if they knew what they were doing is wrong. Our voice through the social media and this blog mobilized lawmakers and yielded HB1107.

In this regard, there is a need to inform the people of issues of concern around them so that there are proper checks and balances on the government of the day especially within the county and the Maryland state Board of Education. Media plays a vital role in this area and that is why we must keep advocating for the people through constructive criticism. So far there are several things of concern and we will be outlining our views shortly after our sincerity agenda to transform the county was hijacked by dark forces. The dark forces trying to take over our reform agenda here in PG county are on a revenge mission (Keep checking our concerns here in our blog). It is important to look at our work and appreciate our perspectives. We are not going to rest until proper changes are in place through criticism. This is what makes democracy work!

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Dr. Lillian M. Lowery Maryland State Superintendent  of schools has been criticized for showing very poor leadership skills in various ways and received an F grade for Common Core meetings so far.

In a broader context, criticism is an assessment, review or observation that can even be in the form of appreciation. Nobody seems to ever talk about that one: When the criticism is good, we don’t call it criticism, we call it approval. We call it praise. We call it being appreciated.

And who doesn’t enjoy sincere appreciation for their work?

Anyways, for constructive criticism to occur three things have to happen: There should be interest on the part of the criticizer and the criticized, there should be bonding and trust that the discussion is for the right reasons, and the criticism should be presented as a discussion.

When the criticism meets these three criteria, there is a strong foundation for learning to occur, and for both members to benefit from honest criticism.

Here are the three advantages to constructive criticism:

Gives New Perspective & Valuable Insight

When someone invites our criticism, we have the opportunity to help that person by giving our perspective or insight into the situation.

For example, say someone asks us to check out an article they’ve written to get our opinion. Chances are the person really wants to know what we think so that they can make it the best it can be.

Our objective reading of the article can give the person valuable insight into how they can improve the article. If they weigh the importance or usefulness of the criticism, they can rewrite or revise the article to make it better

Thus, the writer and article become more valuable due to the constructive criticism.

Here’s the real kicker: different people have different perspectives and knowledge about the way the world works. Each person brings a unique perspective to the table. If we listen and try to understand their perspective, we can apply that perspective to our work to make it better.

Think about it. Say someone wants to improve the design on their website. Who could provide beneficial criticism? Web designers? Regular readers? Casual readers?

Everyone provides a unique perspective.

Furthers Bonding and Trust

If we’re able to give our honest opinion on something, and the other person finds it valuable, we can increase our bonding and trust with that person.

Giving constructive criticism shows the other person that we value his or her work. The result is an increased level of respect between us and the other person.

If we’re lucky enough to have really cool friends that reciprocate coolness, they will provide their valuable perspective to us.

Let’s say that we help our friend out by reviewing his article and improving the spelling and grammar so people can read it easier.

He says, “Wow, that sure is swell. I can’t believe I have such knowledgeable and cool friends willing to help me.”

So when we want to make sure one of our articles is near perfect, we can send it on to our friend and ask him for his honest opinion.

More than likely, he’ll return the favor to help us out.

As Jim Rohn said, “Giving is better than receiving because giving starts the receiving process.”

If we give our valuable perspective, others might be inclined to return the favor.

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Maryland State Board of Education President Dr. Charlene Dukes shown here has demonstrated corrupt leadership and continues “a culture of pay to play” and manipulation.

No Hurt Pride or Resentment

So, when we offer even the slightest disapproval of others or their work without them inviting us to, we are basically asking for them to hate us.

Hans Selye said, “As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation.”

Constructive criticism is different in that we only give it when we’re invited to give it. We give constructive criticism to people that we know and trust, and the people we are criticizing know our true intentions. We present constructive criticism as a discussion, and that our viewpoint is only one perspective and isn’t necessarily fact.

As well, constructive criticism is more about giving an overall view of things: what’s going well, what could be improved upon, etc.

In return, the people we criticize are thankful that we’ve provided valuable feedback to improve themselves or their work.

Your turn: In what situations do you think constructive criticism could be particularly helpful? How do we avoid people getting angry with us for offering feedback? When is it not appropriate to give criticism?

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