Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck has become something of a cult figure in education and parenting circles. Her research into boosting student motivation has spawned a mini industry of consultants, sold more than a million books and changed the way that many adults praise children. Dweck believes too many students are hobbled by the belief that intelligence …
Praising effort alone
Many parents and teachers have interpreted Dweck’s work to mean that they should praise a child’s effort, such as “I’m proud that you tried really hard,” or “I see how much effort you put into this.” Or teachers sometimes give A’s on assignments if a child has attempted all of the questions, regardless of whether the answers are good or not.
“It’s like the consolation prize. ‘Oh, at least you worked hard,'” said Dweck. “What if they didn’t make progress or they didn’t learn?”
Praising effort alone, she says, is useless when the child is getting everything wrong and not making progress. Either students will feel misled when they are eventually confronted with the reality of their low achievement, or the hollow praise will convey adults’ low expectations for them.
Via Gust MEES