After reading Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D, I realize how important it is NOT to praise intelligence, but rather to praise effort. So many parents and teachers make this simple mistake and it sends harmful messages that enforce and encourage a fixed mindset.
According to Dweck, in a fixed mindset, people believe that basic personality traits such as intelligence or talent are inherent. They value their intelligence, and believe that it directly correlates with their success. Effort, hard work, and persistence do not play a role in their achievements.
Conversely, those with a growth mindset believe that they can increase their success through dedication, effort, and hard work. They believe their genetics and inherited talent is only a beginning point, which they can use to build and develop. This results in a love of learning, resilience, and compassion.
Below are some examples of intelligence praise that teachers and parents should avoid:
?You learned that so quickly! You are so smart?
Message student hears: If I don?t? learn something quickly, I?m not smart.
?Look at that drawing Martha, is he the next Picasso or what??
Message student hears: I shouldn?t try drawing anything hard or they?ll see I?m no Picasso
?You?re so brilliant, you got an A without even studying!? (Dweck 174)
Message student hears: I?d better quit studying or they won?t think I?m brilliant
In the above examples, the student learns to fear challenges and failure. He/she also learns that failure signifies a lack of intelligence and that he/she cannot influence his own success as it is already predetermined.
Compare the above examples with examples of effort praise:
?Everyone learns in a different way. Let?s keep trying to find the way that works for you?
?You put so much thought into this essay. It really makes me understand Shakespeare in a new way?
?That homework was so long and involved. I really admire the way you concentrated and finished it? (Dweck , 178)
In the above examples the praise is not only specific, but it targets the students hard work and effort rather than innate intelligence. This type of praise increases student motivation to learn, grow, take risks, see challenges as a way to improve and develop.
Although there is much more to Dweck?s book, I thought this section was specifically relevant to teachers, tutors, and parents. It is invaluable research that could really help alter our children and students? perspectives about themselves if we focus on developing the growth mindset rather than the fixed mindset.
Below I have pasted some additional info regarding Mindset