Hunter Park Kindergarten

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Be careful how you use praise

On Saturday the 2 of May, we all attended a 9-3 inspiration day at Massey, with the educational Leadership project.
Amongst the points that came up was this gem.

Be careful how you use praise:

Telling your child how bright they are when the succeed has been shown by many studies to make them less likely to choose harder work and also less likely to try when challenged. The idea is because they like to feel smart they stop taking risks and stick to the easy stuff, and if it’s hard they give up because it must be beyond them. It tends to set limits on their intelligence.

Instead praise your child’s effort, “you did that because you worked really hard.” This leads them to understand they can do anything if they put enough effort in, and this has shown to be true for the majority of humans. Indeed it’s been shown 10-15,000hours of practise and you can be a master of anything. Children praised for their effort tend to choose the harder tasks when given a choice, and faced with challenges don’t give up but instead simply work harder. Better yet the brain has been shown to act like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets.

Cloninger says the brain has to learn that frustrating spells can be worked through, a person who grows up getting too frequent rewards will not have persistence, because they’ll quit when the rewards disappear. There’s actually a chemical response in the brain that needs to trained.

So keep praise specific, not general, be proud of their, effort, focus, responsibility, persistence, involvement, kindness etc., rather than just telling them they’re smart or good.

Learn more by looking up the works of Carol Dweck.

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