Tuesday, December 3, 2019

"Self-esteem" again

The "self esteem" approach to education has been a disaster. "How Praising Children Teaches Them Not to Learn" explains:
.... Famed Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck wants us to understand that the language we use with our children is fueling their resistance to learning. Dweck advises parents, teachers, and coaches to “keep away from…praise that judges their intelligence or talent.”

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck asks us to consider messages such as “You learned that so quickly! You’re so smart!” or “You’re so brilliant, you got an A without even studying!” Most parents, Dweck observes, see such messages “as supportive, esteem-boosting messages.” Such messages do not help. ....

Instead, if you want your child to develop good learning skills, praise “what they accomplished through practice, study, persistence, and good strategies.” We can talk to our child in a “way that recognizes and shows interest in their efforts and choices.” Dweck gives this example: “You really studied for your test and your improvement shows it. You read the material over several times, you outlined it, and you tested yourself on it. It really worked!” ....

Dweck is concerned when teachers, coaches, and parents use “effort praise as a consolation prize when kids are not learning.” She advises,
If a student has tried hard and made little or no progress, we can of course appreciate their effort, but we should never be content with effort that is not yielding further benefits. We need to figure out why that effort is not effective and guide kids toward other strategies and resources that can help them resume learning.
Naturally, Dweck is not for handing out participation trophies. She writes:
There is a strong message in our society about how to boost children’s self-esteem, and a main part of that message is: Protect them from failure! While this may help with the immediate problem of a child’s disappointment, it can be harmful in the long run.

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