PRAISE

First Grade Home

Excerpt taken from Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potential
By Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. Ballantine Books, New York. 2006.

Parents and Teachers: A Message about Success and Failure

Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence – like a gift – by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect. It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong. If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence. pp 176-177

Yes, children love praise. And they especially love to be praised for their intelligence and talent. It really does give them a boost, a special glow – but only for the moment. The minute they hit a snag, their confidence goes out the window and their motivation hits rock bottom. If success means they’re smart, then failure means they’re dumb. That’s the fixed mindset. p 175

Does this mean we can’t praise our children enthusiastically when they do something great? Should we try to restrain our admiration for their successes? Not at all. It just means that we should keep away from a certain kind of praise – praise that judges their intelligence or talent. Or praise that implies that we’re proud of them for their intelligence or talent rather than for the work they put in. p 177

We can praise them as much as we want for the growth-oriented process – what they accomplished through practice, study, persistence, and good strategies. And we can ask them about their work in a way that admires and appreciates their efforts and choices. p 177

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.

Example: I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that math problem until you finally got it. You thought of a lot of different ways to do it and found the one that worked.

Example: I know school used to be easy for you and you used to feel like the smart kid all the time. But the truth is that you weren’t using your brain to the fullest. I’m really excited about how you’re stretching yourself now and working to learn hard things.

First Grade Weekly Schedule
Special Events
Reading Workshop
Writer’s Workshop
Mathematics
Social Studies
Art, Science, Library, Music, P.E., Spanish, Computer, and Strings Gallery

Educational Philosophy

Recommended Reading: PRAISE