Teaching Children They Can Learn

Is IQ the only factor in a child’s learning? Is a child’s ability to learn something that is preset and fixed? For years, we were taught to accept that fact. Recently, though, a number of books have come out saying something different. If we reinforce our children’s ability to develop learning skills, we can help them develop skills they will use their entire life.

How does it work? It boils down to how we word praise that we give. Saying something like “you got it right” only concentrates on a result, and not what has to be done to get that result. The child cannot transfer a skill, because that child does not know what skill was used. Saying something like “you remembered that when you use the < and > signs, the open part faces the larger number, you worked hard to remember that and now you did” reinforces what skill was used and compliments the child for the effort they put into the learning.

This is an area I am still learning more about myself, as I was brought up more in the “you got 85%, good job” ¬†and “you only got 75%, you should do better than that” mindset than the “you got 80%, I bet if you took his home and worked on the ones that were hard, you could get an even higher mark tomorrow” one. With that in mind, I found this article to be quite informative. It describes Dr. Carol Dweck’s ¬†research on “Fixed Mindset versus Growth Mindset” :

http://www.offgridquest.com/health-nutrition/one-little-change-in-how-you-talk-to-you

The article mentions Dr. Carol Dweck. Here is a paper she wrote about how a student’s mindset can affect his/her learning of mathematics and science curriculum:

http://www.growthmindsetmaths.com/uploads/2/3/7/7/23776169/mindset_and_math_science_achievement_-_nov_2013.pdf

Her ideas can be used by adults with other adults,say in a work place, and with children.

 

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a nothing, a nobody

Something I learned growing up. The parent that claims their child ‘will do anything for attention’ and ‘makes mountains out of molehills’ is not always, but very often, a parent who is minimalizing their child constantly, whether intentionally or unintentionally. As soon as you hear that, step back and take a good look at the child. do they act like someone who knows they are on stage, a drama queen? Do they act like they want to be heard, be loved? Watch the child with the parent. Does the parent take time to listen to the child and acknowledge the child’s feelings? Does the parent seem to brush aside how the child feels, either with a ‘don’t bother us’ attitude or a ‘you’re just a child, what do you know’ attitude?

If you looked at this honestly and openly, and saw that the parent was not really listening to the child but was excusing how their child was behaving while they avoided helping that child with what concerned him or her, then you have found a parent who is teaching the child not to believe in him or herself. This is a part of the abuse cycle. This is a part of what we have to change to improve our world. People say they do what they do for their children’s sakes. How is it for that child’s sake that you teach them to believe they are a nothing, a nobody?