Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Monday, April 27, 2015

Praising Ability or Effort?

Monday, I talked about the importance of reinforcing effort with students.  I'd like to continue that discussion by focusing on effort vs. ability.  Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller, researchers from Columbia University, found that if students are praised only for their ability (You are so smart!), over time their effort, and their achievement, goes down.  On the other hand, students who are praised for their effort increase their effort, and over time, their achievement goes up.  This doesn't mean you
can't reinforce ability, but don't do so at the expense of praising effort.  I thought about one of my students when I read this research.  She was quite smart, and her parents made that clear to her.  She just assumed that since she was smart, she could do anything without working hard.  One day, she hit a roadblock with an assignment, and because it took extra effort, she gave up.  That's the danger of overpraising ability.

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