Parents, did I get your attention with that?  I hope so, because I was hoping you might take some time to read a really important study done by a researcher named Carol Dweck.  I highly encourage you to read the entire article linked to here (focusing especially at the section toward the bottom of page 3), but the gist of it says the following:

When kids were told, "You must be smart at this," they responded by:
- believing they couldn't grow - their identity is "fixed"
- wanting easy tasks where they could continue to prove they really were smart
- losing confidence and enjoyment when they struggle on problems
- wanting to compare themselves with "lower" students to make themselves feel better
- 40% lied about scores they received to make themselves look better
- performing 20% worse on future assessments
- desiring to appear to perform well

When kids were told, "You must have worked really hard at this," they responded by:
- believing they could grow and improve at tasks
- wanting harder tasks where they could challenge themselves and get even better
- actually enjoying hard problems because they know they will grow from the experience
- wanting to compare themselves with "higher" students so they can see how to improve
- only 10% lied about scores they received
- performing 40% better on future assessments
- desiring to learn


I actually first came across this study in a book called How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer.  It's a fascinating book on how the emotional and logical parts of our brains battle it out to get their way.
 


Comments

Toni Sims
09/17/2010 9:14pm

I loved this article. Great stuff to remember when encouraging our kiddos. I used it this morning when praising my son on the hard work he was putting in with his spelling list. Thanks!


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