Thursday, November 29, 2007

Scientific American: The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Scientific American: Nothing Says "Early Earth Was Cool" Like World's Oldest Diamonds: "In particular, attributing poor performance to a lack of ability depresses motivation more than does the belief that lack of effort is to blame. In 1972, when I taught a group of elementary and middle school children who displayed helpless behavior in school that a lack of effort (rather than lack of ability) led to their mistakes on math problems, the kids learned to keep trying when the problems got tough. They also solved many of the problems even in the face of difficulty. Another group of helpless children who were simply rewarded for their success on easy problems did not improve their ability to solve hard math problems. These experiments were an early indication that a focus on effort can help resolve helplessness and engender success."

This article isn't about gifted children at all it is about a learning mindset.

The way parents and teachers praise their children can have huge effects on how they react to challenges.

Rather then giving them a generic, "You're smart," Use a more growth oriented "You must have worked really hard."

It looks like all those years of focusing on self-esteem probably severely limited a good portion of the students it was focused on, for life.

So what does this mean to what I need to do for my children. I need to focus on giving work-based praise.

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