“Great teachers focus on what the student is saying or doing, and are able, by being so focused and by their deep knowledge of the subject matter, to see and recognize the inarticulate stumbling, fumbling effort of the student who’s reaching toward mastery, and then connect to them with a targeted message.”
I couldn’t agree more with Daniel Coyle, author of the Talent Code, a book that ALL parents must read. As parents, we are the first ‘teachers’ of our children. They learn many things from us parents: mores, mannerisms, behavior, attitude, faith, etc.; however, one salient ingredient they learn is to value themselves in the world. John Wooten, the most acclaimed college basketball coach in history said, “I am not going to treat you players all the same. Giving you the same treatment doesn’t make sense, because you’re all different.
The good Lord, in his infinite wisdom, did not make us all the same. For that reason, each one of you deserves individual treatment that is best for you. I will decide what that treatment will be.” As a teacher I definitely understand that you must treat every child fairly but maybe not equally as in the sense of interests and ability.
As parents we may not want to admit openly to our children that we treat them differently or we may want to treat them differently because of their uniqueness and physical/emotional needs. However, the praise of effort or praising effort enough is crucial in a child’s development, it creates value for self.
Professor Dweck, a social psychologist at Stanford University says, “when we praise children for their intelligence, we tell them that’s the name of the game: look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.”
In a study conducted by Dweck, there were two groups of students – the “praised-for-effort group” and the “praised-for-intelligence group” – their responses were very different to the situation. “(The effort group) dug in and grew very involved with the test, trying solutions, testing strategies,” Dweck said. “They later said they liked it. But the group praised for intelligence hated the harder test. They took it as proof they weren’t smart.”
The experiment then came full circle, returning to a test of the same difficulty as the initial test. The praised-for-effort group improved their initial score by 30 per cent, while the praised-for intelligence group’s score declined by 20 per cent. All because of six short letters…effort.
Dweck was so surprised at the result that she reran the study five times. Each time the result was the same. True to the findings of Dweck’s study, progressive schools and homes I visited over the years used language that affirmed the value of effort and slow progress rather than innate talent or intelligence.
Find the best possible way to nurture kids differently though you may be their parents. Even individually, what works for one, doesn’t for the other. There’s always a way around without being discriminatory.