"Amber, I'm your best friend, right?" Kurt said hesitantly.
"Yeah, I guess you are my best friend," Amber said in a somber voice.
"Well, don't get me wrong ... but what you said to Fitz last night was really mean. I can't believe the words that were coming out of your mouth."
"'C'mon, none of the words were all that bad! Besides he had it coming!"
"Maybe the words weren't that bad; it was more the way you said them. I think you really hurt his feelings. You know, Fitz really is a nice guy. I think you should apologize."
"Well, maybe I was too hard on Fitz last night. I was just upset. I guess I should have used different words, and said them in a better way."
Two of the most important verbal pragmatic functions are represented here: the ability to criticize others appropriately (without being demeaning or too bossy), and the capacity to interpret criticism effectively (without becoming too defensive, overly sad, or over-rationalizing). Failing to develop these key functions may cause a student to have short-lived relationships and limited personal growth.
Key neurodevelopmental functions involved in providing and interpreting criticism include response inhibition (i.e., not reacting impulsively, not saying the first statement that comes to mind, attending to key points while giving and receiving criticism, etc.), expressive language ability (i.e., communicating in a manner that promotes understanding), and self-monitoring (i.e., determining if one's language is appropriate and effective for a given situation).
Here are some strategies to help students develop their ability to criticize appropriately and interpret criticism effectively.