I recently heard someone talking about making a “compliment sandwich” when they teach. He went on to explain that he “sandwiched” one compliment between two “slices” of constructive criticism. It was his way of remembering the goal we all have of balancing those comments we offer our students. As I thought about his metaphor, I realized that I have far more success making a “Constructive Criticism Sandwich” with one constructive criticism carefully placed between two doses of reinforcing positive behaviors or compliments (with a healthy serving of encouragement). It might not be as glitzy as having special sauce or a sesame seed bun, but I think we can agree that the medicine of criticism – no matter how constructive – goes down much easier with a healthy dose of honey. 

Peter Loel Boonshaft, Director of Education
KHS America

About the Author

Dr. Boonshaft, Director of Education for KHS America, is the author of the critically acclaimed best-selling books Teaching Music with Passion, Teaching Music with Purpose, and Teaching Music with Promise. He was honored by the National Association for Music Education and Music For All as the first recipient of the “George M. Parks Award for Leadership in Music Education.” Dr. Boonshaft was selected for the Center for Scholarly Research and Academic Excellence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY, where he is Professor Emeritus of Music.