Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Effort and Mindset

Did you ever think that praising "intelligence" and pushing kids eventually backfires? Some praise backfires.
Praising only a child's IQ or intelligence can send the message that intelligence is a natural gift and thus out of a child's control. It's better instead to give kids the idea that hard work is always needed for achievement.
If you want to praise,  praise your child's process, commitment, the strategies that work. Focus on the learning, not just the grades. Do you tell your child, "Easy A, wow, you're smart!" Or, do you ask, "What did you learn in that class?"
Children praised lavishly for their past high performance may be harmed even more than kids who have typically done less well. The high performers think it's beneath them to try hard, that it's just for dummies. There's a false promise here: "You're so smart, it will just come to you." And when academic success doesn't just happen, some kids may worry that they are no longer the whiz kids they once thought they were and lose their motivation to study.
Of course, we all come with certain natural abilities, but just because some have a more natural ability doesn't mean others can't learn the skill, too.
Parents need to value learning, progress, effort, resilience. Their children will take that with them and enjoy it for a lifetime.
Knowledge and intelligence is not something that comes easily. Think about it for a moment, how many people are really born genius - and never have to work for their knowledge? .001% of the population. The difference between the kids who learn and those who don't comes down to one principle: self discipline
That difference in children's mindset affect their motivation to learn and ultimately their performance in school.
Middle school students who believed intelligence was fixed tried to preserve their self-image by only doing what they already knew how to do well. "They didn't want to risk their precious label -- being smart," Their fixed mindset, ultimately, could limit the growth of their intelligence.
Fixed mindset carries over to adulthood. Have you ever met that person with a high school diploma who esteemed themself as an "intellectual" knowing they did not read a quarter of the text books a University sophomore has to read? 
Working hard in the University means something. To quote Issac Assimov

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