Praise, and not because we can all use a bit of affirmation once in a while. I think it’s quite important in the workshop environment for criticism to come out of praise. I make my students focus at the beginning of workshops on what’s effective about a given piece. Finding positives can be a lot harder than tearing somebody’s work to shreds, but it encourages students to think more deeply about a piece of writing and the habits of a writer. The criticisms and suggestions that follow later in the workshop tend to be more rigorous and helpful.
… man. And not, as some voices of backlash would have it, because they are weak or “snowflakes,” but because self-protection is the ultimate expression of agency: doing what has to be done to stay safe and secure for another day.