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1. Read the attached article about how to teach kids the importance of process. What do you think of growing intelligence through recognizing process?  Give an example of how this has worked for you. Accessibility score: Medium Click to improve The Secret to Raising Smart Kids.short version.doc The Secret to Raising Smart Kids.short version.doc – Alternative Formats

2.  Watch the TED talk below about What Babies Learn Before They Are Born/Fetal Origins. What did you find most interesting about it?  Give us an example of a similar situation/place/time period as the Hunger Winter the speaker describes in the video?
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The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Permanent Address: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-secret-to-raising-smart-kids1/ 

HINT: Don’t tell your kids that they are. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on “process”—not on intelligence or ability—is key to success in school and in life 

By Carol S. Dweck | Jan 1, 2015 

Growing Pains 

Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn.

Teaching people to have a “growth mind-set,” which encourages a focus on “process” rather than on intelligence or talent, produces high achievers in school and in life.

Parents and teachers can engender a growth mind-set in children by praising them for their persistence or strategies (rather than for their intelligence), by telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning, and by teaching them about the brain as a learning machine.

A brilliant student, Jonathan sailed through grade school. He completed his assignments easily and routinely earned As. Jonathan puzzled over why some of his classmates struggled, and his parents told him he had a special gift. In the seventh grade, however, Jonathan suddenly lost interest in school, refusing to do homework or study for tests. As a consequence, his grades plummeted. His parents tried to boost their son’s confidence by assuring him that he was very smart. But their attempts failed to motivate Jonathan (who is a composite drawn from several children). Schoolwork, their son maintained, was boring and pointless.

Our society worships talent, and many people assume that possessing superior intelligence or ability—along with confidence in that ability—is a recipe for success. In fact, however, more than 35 years of scientific investigation suggests that an overemphasis on intellect or talent leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unwilling to remedy their shortcomings.

The result plays out in children like Jonathan, who coast through the early grades under the dangerous notion that no-effort academic achievement defines them as smart or gifted. Such children hold an implicit belief that intelligence is innate and fixed, making striving to learn seem far less important than being (or looking) smart. This belief also makes them see challenges, mistakes and even the need to exert effort as threats to their ego rather than as opportunities to improve. And it causes them to lose confidence and motivation when the work is no longer easy for them.

Praising children’s innate abilities, as Jonathan’s parents did, reinforces this mind-set, which can also prevent young athletes or people in the workforce and even marriages from living up to their potential. On the other hand, our studies show that teaching people to have a “growth mind-set,” which encourages a focus on “process” (consisting of personal effort and effective strategies) rather than on intelligence or talent, helps make them into high achievers in school and in life.

A for Effort
According to a survey we conducted in the mid-1990s, 85 percent of parents believed that praising children’s ability or intelligence when they perform well is important for making them feel smart. But our work shows that praising a child’s intelligence makes a child fragile and defensive. So, too, does generic praise that suggests a stable trait, such as “You are a good artist.” Praise can be very valuable, however, if it is carefully worded. Praise for the specific process a child used to accomplish something fosters motivation and confidence by focusing children on the actions that lead to success. Such process praise may involve commending effort, strategies, focus, persistence in the face of difficulty, and willingness to take on challenges. The following are examples of such communications:

You did a good job drawing. I like the detail you added to the people’s faces.

You really studied for your social studies test. You read the material over several times, outlined it and tested yourself on it. It really worked!

I like the way you tried a lot of different strategies on that math problem until you finally got it.

That was a hard English assignment, but you stuck with it until you got it done. You stayed at your desk and kept your concentration. That’s great!

I like that you took on that challenging project for your science class. It will take a lot of work—doing the research, designing the apparatus, making the parts and building it. You are going to learn a lot of great things.

Parents and teachers can also teach children to enjoy the process of learning by expressing positive views of challenges, effort and mistakes. Here are some examples:

Boy, this is hard—this is fun.

Oh, sorry, that was too easy—no fun. Let’s do something more challenging that you can learn from.

Let’s all talk about what we struggled with today and learned from. I’ll go first.

Mistakes are so interesting. Here’s a wonderful mistake.

Let’s see what we can learn from it.
—C.S.D.

CAROL S. DWECK is Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. She has held professorships at Columbia University, the University of Illinois and Harvard University and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. Her most recent book is Mindset, published by Random House in 2006.

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