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The Secret of Raising Smart Children: Don't Tell Them How Smart They Are!

Every parent wants their children to be smart, but how exactly should one raise a smart kid?

Carol S. Dweck wrote an interesting (though a little long) article for the Scientific American on the secret of raising smart kids: don't tell them how smart they are! Effort, not intelligence or ability, is the key to success in school and life:

In studies involving several hundred fifth graders published in 1998, for example, Columbia psychologist Claudia M. Mueller and I gave children questions from a nonverbal IQ test. After the first 10 problems,
on which most children did fairly well, we praised them. We praised some of them for their intelligence: “Wow … that’s a really good score. You must be smart at this.” We commended others for their effort: “Wow … that’s a really good score. You must have worked really hard.”

We found that intelligence praise encouraged a fixed mind-set more often than did pats on the back for effort. Those congratulated for their intelligence, for example, shied away from a challenging assignment—they wanted an easy one instead—far more often than the kids applauded for their effort. (Most of those lauded for their hard work wanted the difficult problem set from which they would learn.) When we gave everyone hard problems anyway, those praised for being smart became discouraged, doubting their ability. And their scores, even on an easier problem set we gave them afterward, declined as compared with their previous results on equivalent problems. In contrast, students praised for their effort did not lose confidence when faced with the harder questions, and their performance improved markedly on the easier problems that followed.

Link - via I Knew That


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I appreciate all the interesting points of view represented here. I do want to say that I absolutely agree with the cornerstone of this article. Effort and overcoming challenges are a much more effective focus than intelligence.
Plasmator's whole response is actually proof, not contradiction, to this theory. The view that he gives that effort = meaningless boring work is not at all what the author was trying to express. Effort means continuing to work and put forth energy and thought even when something is challenging. Therefore, if "busy work" or 50 homework questions are not a challenge to a student with a high IQ, then they should have a challenge that meets their needs that they can put effort into. A truly intelligent person, I feel, can find their own challenges rather than require others to challenge them, at least as a young adult.
Our educational system targets the average student. That is the nature of education in America. We have great supplementary programs and private schools to further develop gifted students, but public education as a whole is not built to address the needs of these students.
It's awesome if you are able to find a teacher who can enlighten and challenge that bored gifted student but a truly intelligent student should be able to challenge themselves. Intelligence means nothing if it is not utilized for a purpose.
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Wow, any of you feel like bashing ppl much? Plasmator, I completely understand and feel your pain. I am not sure what my IQ is but I'm am quite confident that it ranks pretty above average. I too encountered alot of what you mentioned. To Ted, maybe you're just pissed because you get side tracked after reading several typed paragraphs, oh I don't know, it's just the way books and magazines are written. Maybe read one and you would find that being gifted and having social issues that come along with it is somewhat frequent. It's ppl like Ted and Asdfasfd that make it all the more difficult, especially as adults!

Perhaps Plasmator is doing what he wants to do in life, that what it sounds like to me. Just because you are very intelligent doesn't mean that you have some lofty goal of being a scientist or creating the biggest company. I know I have no interest in either.

Perhaps you can take away the main idea from his story without being a jealous douche; gifted kids encounter difficulties that alot of other folks will simply not recognize or simply ignore.

Plasmator, I'm glad you are happy and comfortable with your life! Keep learning the things that interest you! More people should be happy in their own skins instead of wishing to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffett!
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plasmator. Good 160 IQ troll.

However, it's kind of sad. You should be solving the world's problems; designing the hadron collider, solving the unified field theory, finding a cure for cancer/aids/ADHD, designing the next great architectural triumph.

Instead you are building strip malls for money. Anyone with a sub 100 IQ could slap up a "condo on the top/retail on the bottom" structure. If you are happy, then congrats to you, but don't go around bragging about your IQ, because I guarantee it your friends make fun of you behind your back about it, especially considering your career choice.
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Wow, Plasmator.

Instead of making a snarky comment now, why don't I give you a valuable tip? The longer you take to say something, the less of an audience you're going to have. I chose not to read your 18 mind-numbingly self-absorbed paragraphs.

In comparison... naw, forget it. You're not listening, anyways. You just can't teach some people.
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