Can You Become Smarter? Students Who Say Yes Act More Intelligently

Source: Creativity Post, Sep 2012

… students who believed their smarts could be changed (had “growth” mindsets) engaged in adaptive behaviors, such as focusing on mastering concepts and developing new strategies after making mistakes. As expected, these behaviors led to improvements in performance on subsequent tasks.

If we want to support children’s abilities to reach their full potential, a sobering lesson of these findings for parents, teachers, and other adult role models, is to stop telling children they are smart in the hopes of raising their self-esteem and instead, provide detailed, meaningful, and honest feedback regarding their efforts. This is a step towards orientating children away from the need to look smart and instead, focus on learning.

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