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Hard worker or clever child?

12 May
Posted by:
Michael Grose

We want our kids to be confident and work hard. But what do you focus on when they've done well?

Reward your children when they've worked hard saying 'You've worked really hard at this. Well done!'

This helps them link success with greater effort. It also reinforces the changeable dynamic of their own abilities.

Saying "You're so clever!" implies that their abilities are unchangeable. They were born with these gifts.

The focus on process (effort, improvement, enjoyment, persistence, working long, working hard, working smart) reinforces with kids that nothing is fixed. That with effort, risk and courage all things are possible.

Keep clear of fixed terms such as 'gifted', 'intelligent', 'clever', 'stupid' and 'clumsy' that promote a fixed view of the world. It implies success is due to personal attributes alone rather than effort.

Instead focus on kids' behaviour ("sticking at it") when they work as this promotes a malleable, more motivating view of the world.
  • confidence
  • kids
  • motivating
  • risk-taking
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