Praise Children for Effort Not Intelligence

PraiseChildren for Effort Not Intelligence

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Praisechildren for effort not intelligence

Itis important to [praise children for their efforts rather than fortheir intelligence (The New York Times, 1998). The differenceaccording to research conducted by psychologists is that whenchildren are praised for their intelligence, they make every effortso they don`t fail. They, therefore, become specific on what theyshould do and what they should not do. On the other hand, childrenwho get praised for their effort view every opportunity as a learningopportunity. They develop an exploratory view of finding solutions toproblems since they have the option to fail as they find the bestsolution.

Praisingchildren for their intelligence is, therefore, likely to make thechildren have the fear of failure. They will always endeavor toattempt only the kind of problems that they feel they can tackleeffectively. I t would make it hand for such children to tackleproblems if they don`t have ready answers. That would constrict theirfreedom to be exploratory and to think critically in search ofanswers to their problems. Such children are likely to learn only oneway of solving problems. Due to the freedom that comes with beingpraised for efforts made the second group of children would be ableto analyze possible solutions to problems before they arrive at theactual solutions. They are likely to come up with different ways ofarriving at a solution. They are also likely to be much more creativein the performance of different tasks than their peers who arepraised for their intelligence. If children are praised for theeffort made, they see every opportunity as an opportunity to learn.They don`t worry about failing and view failure as part of findingthe solution. These children are likely to be less anxious about thefuture. To them, the circumstances of the future are what woulddetermine solutions to future problems.

Theyview what know currently as just a hint to tackle any futureproblems. Their present knowledge and skills only lay the foundationto future solutions of problems. On the other hand, children arepraised for their intelligence feel that they should have readyanswers to future problems. They are therefore anxious about thefuture. They are worried what would happen if they will not haveanswers ton future problems. They spend more time worrying to haveready answers to future problems. They have the feeling that they maynot be well prepared to tackle future problems. The implication ofthis would be that they are not flexible enough to assess eachsituation based on the unique contexts. They are therefore not ableto develop their critical analysis to help them find solutions toproblems. They are likely to have fixed solutions to problems.

Inconclusion, it would be better to praise children for effort, notintelligence. Children praised for effort are likely to emerge intocritical thinkers who could come up with multiple solutions to singleproblems (The New York Times, 1998). Their minds are not tied to oneline of thinking and they develop an exploratory mind at an earlyage. They have freedom to think, knowing that every effort counts.Children who are praised for intelligence view their intelligence asthe ultimate and are likely to be less analytical in their thinking.They will end up being very anxious about tackling future problems.


TheNew York Times (14th July 1998).Praise Children forEffort, Not Intelligence, New York. Print