We've blogged on Carol Dweck's work before, and now Stanford's alumni magazine has an interview with Dweck and her paper testing the effect of interventions on teen math scores is available free online now in Child Development. Here book Mindset came out last year.
What Dweck finds is that young people's expectations about intelligence and achievement affect their performance. Not surprising? Well, you'd still be surprised how kids (and adults) could benefit from a little pep talk in this regard.
When it comes to a subject that is difficult, many people underachieve because they think they're not good at it, and they may also have an unrealistic expectation of the work that's required to produce success. When Dweck and her team educated students about the brain, the common negative stereotypes about achievement, and the benefits of time and effort, the 7th grade students' math scores rose:
This is certainly good news. There are many ingredients to success, and this take-home lesson will be valuable for many kids (and adults!). Many different names and faces come to mind... gifted student who has been avoiding new challenges because she has unrealistic expectations about how much hard work might be necessary, or the late bloomer who has been so trapped in a cycle of learned helplessness that he has turned his back on school because he feels he's already learned that he's not smart.
For us too, how many challenges have we balked on because we haven't felt up to the challenge? The data from neuroscience has good news for everybody. There is now ample evidence that targeted training can improve memory and cognition, hearing, and activities like second language learning in adults.
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Mental Toughness, Resiliency, and Endurance
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Finding the Right Ways to Praise Kids
Depression and Learned Helplessness
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Passion and Perseverance Predict Success
Technorati tags: motivation, student achievement, gifted, education, underachievement, math, teens