“The judges were biased.”
“The coach just doesn’t like me.”
“My teacher doesn’t challenge me enough.”
Have you heard any of these statements from a child before? I know I have. When my daughter told me that her scores were low in a synchronized swimming competition because of the judges, it was very tempting to agree with her. I knew she was devastated by the numbers, and I wanted to console her by letting her think it wasn’t her fault.
But then I remembered what I learned about a Growth Mindset. And I knew that blaming her scores on the judges would only be implying that she would never have control over her level of achievement in this sport. Instead of agreeing, I gently prodded her into thinking about what she could have done differently, and how more practice might have helped. By the end of the conversation, she felt better about the plan we put in place for her to make those scores higher next year.
At the beginning of the summer I mentioned that our school is doing a Parent/Teacher Book Study with Mindset, by Carol Dweck. I just sent out an update to those participating about Chapters 4 & 5. Chapter 4 is an excellent section about sports, and every parent and teacher should be able to identify. You can apply its lessons to any area in which one strives to achieve. The new Smore I sent out to those involved in the book study encourages thought and discussion. It includes a video, song suggestions for young students, and other links.
One thing that Dweck mentions in Chapter 5 about businesses is that we are failing future employees and leaders by praising them in the wrong way as children. By saying things like, “You’re so smart,” we are sending the message that they achieve things because of innate talent instead of hard work and perseverance. This article by Angela Stockman is a treasure chest of alternative ways to praise – which are more specific and show that we recognize students who have worked hard to earn their success.
Feel free to take a look at our Smore, and/or add your own comments to the Padlet link that is included. Also, if you would like more Mindset resources, here is a link to my Pinterest Board for Growth Mindset.