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To Praise or not To Praise

How Not to Talk to Your Kids


One of my wonderful Cluster Directors sent this link to me today (thanks Tracey). The article was written in 2007 and asks us to consider whether praise actually builds confidence in gifted children or in fact diminishes it. We all know gifted children who refuse to attempt tasks if there is any risk that they might fail, even if the failure is only in their own eyes.

Many of you will be familiar with the work of Carol Dweck and her work on the effect of praise on students in New York schools. Dweck concluded that praise can have the opposite effect to that intended and that we should be praising our children for the effort they expend to achieve success, rather than attribute their success to high ability or intelligence. Dweck found that children who think that innate intelligence is the key to success begin to discount the importance of effort. "I am smart, I don’t need to put out effort." Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts.

Check out the following youTube links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTXrV0_3UjY (the experiment) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jDVd-nCEYc&feature=relmfu (interview with Carol Dweck).

My MEd research investigated the impact of strategy instruction combined with attribution retraining on gifted children who also experienced significant difficulties with some aspects of learning. One of the findings was that students felt more positive as learners when their success was attributed to effort plus the use of the strategy rather than to simply to their 'natural ability.'

What do you think?



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