Wednesday, 14 March 2012

How do you praise your kid?

Came across an interesting concept the other day which I will want to share. Although when I smugly informed Drama Mama about it, only then did I realise that she is already aware of it. Hey! Why did'nt tell me? Anyway, here goes:

We often will praise our kids for being "so smart" or "so clever". (I'm guilty of it as well)
However, studies have shown that we should praise our kids for making the effort rather than just their intelligence.

Over a period of time, the kids will tend to avoid  making mistakes and its risk of being embarrassed in order to continue and be smart. Here's what Carol Dweck, a top psychologist, discovered when she took 400 students and gave them a simple puzzle.

After the puzzle, the students were given six words of praise.

Half were Praised for Intelligence: "wow, you must be really smart!"

The other half were Praised for Effort: "wow, you must be hard working!"

Dweck was testing to see if these simple words could alter the students' mindsets. The results were notable.

After the first test, the students were given a choice of whether to take on another difficult or an easy task.

Two thirds of the students praised for intelligence chose the easy task (as they do not want to risk losing their "smart" label) but 90 percent of the effort praised group chose the tough test. (as they wanted to prove how hard-working they were)

Then the experiment came full circle, giving the students a chance to take a test of equal difficulty to the first. The group praised for the intelligence dropped 20 percent compared to the first test while the effort praised group improved by 30 per cent. Failure had actually spurred them on!   

"Praising childen's intelligence harms motivation and it harms performance."

The reason is simple: Praising intelligence nudges children towards the fixed mindset - it suggests that intelligence is of primary importance rather than the effort through which intelligence can be transformed.

This reveals a radical new approach  where we should praise the effort, not talent, and we should teach kids to see challenges as learning opportunities rather than threats.

When parents and teachers adopt this approach and stick to it, the results are remarkable. Kids will not give up easily and keep trying.... till the task is complete.

Wow! This is definitely new and very interesting to me. What's your take on it?

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