“Helping Children Realize that Intelligence is Malleable and Not Fixed, is Key,” Reminds Student Counselor at Churchill Campus.
In this week’s six-part series on wellbeing, Ms. Kelley Loyd highlights the importance of praise in the development of a child’s learning and motivation. Inspired by psychologist Carol Dweck, Ms. Loyd is aligned with the notion that praise is a powerful thing but it can also have adverse effects on a child if not practiced properly.
Ms. Kelley points out: “We can all support a child’s learning by focusing on praising effort – not just outcomes and abilities. Comments like: ‘what a creative solution to that problem’ or ‘I love that you are always prepared for class!’ are great ways to praise a child and can help to further motivate him or her to take on new challenges. This is what we mean by nurturing the growth mindset according to Carol Dweck.”
In Carol Dweck’s book titled: Growth Mindset, she makes a poignant remark and notes: “When our praise is focused on outcomes and abilities ('You’re so smart!', 'You’re a real natural at this!'), it contributes to the development of a Fixed mindset – the belief that abilities cannot be changed. Such praise may feel good in the moment, but it has the potential to make children worry about making mistakes or losing that "smart” label. They can become anxious about failure, which means they are unwilling to try new things.”
Ms. Kelley adds: “This doesn’t mean that we should be praising any kind of effort. Only effective effort should be praised with a view that children are more likely to want challenging work and to persist when the work gets more difficult.”