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Praise Persistence More Than Results

March 12, 2015

This is already old research, but since I am even older and more relevantly, since my teacher training as also older, it is today’s exciting discovery.

…Dweck’s researchers then gave all the fifth-graders a final round of tests that were engineered to be as easy as the first round. Those who had been praised for their effort significantly improved on their first score—by about 30 percent. Those who’d been told they were smart did worse than they had at the very beginning—by about 20 percent.
Dweck had suspected that praise could backfire, but even she was surprised by the magnitude of the effect. “Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control,” she explains. “They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”  …
…In a single semester, Blackwell reversed the students’ longtime trend of decreasing math grades.
The only difference between the control group and the test group were two lessons, a total of 50 minutes spent teaching not math but a single idea: that the brain is a muscle. Giving it a harder workout makes you smarter. That alone improved their math scores. … How Not To Talk To Your Kids

And, as if to assure me that I was on to something, I just happened to come across this before I even read the article.

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One Comment
  1. FrenkoFrenik permalink
    March 12, 2015 2:21 pm

    magnificent post and links. Thank you.

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