Summer is a great time to catch up on reading, and Berkeley Math Coach Rebecca Burke suggests parents take a look at this piece out recently in the Atlantic: 100 Percent Is Overrated – People labeled “smart” at a young age don’t deal well with being wrong. Life grows stagnant.
Here’s the first two paragraphs to pique your interest:
At whatever age smart people develop the idea that they are smart, they also tend to develop vulnerability around relinquishing that label. So the difference between telling a kid “You did a great job” and “You are smart” isn’t subtle. That is, at least, according to one growing movement in education and parenting that advocates for retirement of “the S word.”
The idea is that when we praise kids for being smart, those kids think: Oh good, I’m smart. And then later, when those kids mess up, which they will, they think: Oh no, I’m not smart after all. People will think I’m not smart after all. And that’s the worst. That’s a risk to avoid, they learn.“Smart” kids stand to become especially averse to making mistakes, which are critical to learning and succeeding…
Read more and learn how this thinking applies to the learning of mathematics.
Watch this two minute video of Stanford Professor Jo Boaler talking about changing the way we talk about and learn mathematics.