The Little Theater was full with teachers and parents who came to listen to Dr. Carol Dweck. Dressed in a black suite, with a very soft voice, Dr. Dweck shared how you can make a huge different in children’s academic accomplishment by praising them for the PROCESS rather their intelligence.

Her message although simple to absorb, is quite amazing –

By changing the way you are praising your child, you are effecting his ability to become a better student while developing an attitude of growth towards learning.

According to Dr. Dweck, there are 2 basic mindset – A fix mindset and a growth mindset.
The fixed mindset student care more about Looking smart, rather than learning and growing.
The growth mindset student care more about what she is learning rather that how she looks.

Her research shows correlation between a student mindset and their long term academic success:

A fix mindset will tend to choose ‘ easy tasks’ and avoid challenges, to sustain the need of ‘looking smart’ and over time will do poorly in school. A growth mindset will take the time to learn from her own mistakes to become a better student and improve grades.

The big discovery of the research shows a direct relationship between the way a child is being praised and their mindset and preformance. A child that is being praise for his intelligence (e.g : you are so good at that, you are so smart, of course this is easy for you because you are so smart…..) tend to develop a fixed mindset and will not make an effort that will make her look ‘not smart’.
A child that is being praised for the process – meaning, the hard work she puts in and the effort she makes to become better, will develop a growth mindset and will challenge herself to grow all the time.

Although the research is all about academic performance, I can see a direct relationship to parenting and life in general. The way I look at life is that it’s a continues journey of leaning and growing. This is the reason we are here – to learn all the time, and become better human beings and at the same time become professional at our vocation. As a mom, I am telling my kids all the time how smart they are, and according to Dr. Dweck research, I am doing then a disservice. I do not help them develop a growth mindset. The fact that a child is smart and have better abilities than others, does not mean she needs to work less hard. By praising a child for hard work, for trying hard, for making mistakes and learning from them, by making an effort to do the best, we encourage him to become a more confidence person in his ability to learn and grow.

Personally, I know that this has been one of my biggest challenge as a growing child, I was always told that I was smart and I can do it, and thus I got so stressed before tests, that is came to physical pains. I was afraid to let down, to not look as smart and others thought I was. Today, as I am learning more and more, and enjoying every minute of it,I stop to thank myself for all the learning I have done, and all the growth I have made. Stephan Covey said: The more you learn, the more you realized how ignorant you are. The more we learn, the more we realized how much more there is to uncover and to learn. I love this message, it makes ignorance to be a positive thing that keeps you on your toes, and pushes you to learn more.

Praise yourself and your children for the effort they are putting in, and with a lot of love they will become a great curious human being and a great students.