Effort or Grades – Which Means More?

080814-brainEvery day scientists are learning more and more about the brain. Research is proving that the brain can continue to grow new synapses (connections) no matter the age providing that it continues to learn “new” skills. Do you believe that your brain can grow or were you born with a certain amount of intelligence and that’s all there is?

I’m reading the book, Mindset, by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. Dweck believes that it is more important what you and/or your child believe about the brain and not what they believe about a grade or an IQ score. (Click here to watch a YouTube video of Dr. Dweck) Dweck’s premise is that there are two kinds of mindsets; fixed and growth. “Believing your qualities are carved in stone – the fixed mindset – creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. “  So you strive for the good grades in order to feel good about yourself. Then when you do poorly on something, you feel like a failure. Your motivation dwindles because in this mindset, nothing you can do can improve your grade. You’re stuck in a fixed mindset.

On the other hand, “The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts….everyone can change and grow through application and experience.” Same failed test causes the student with this mindset to study harder and to work at it until they get it. They are motivated to improve and believe there is no limit to what they can do with enough effort.

So, as parents, do you praise your child for their grades or for their effort? One (grades) will lead to a fixed mindset whereas; praising their effort will encourage them to continue to strive for excellence. Dweck says, “The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.” What do you think? Let me know in the comment box below.