More than three decades of scientific research suggests that repeatedly telling children that they are especially smart or talented leaves them vulnerable to failure, and fearful of challenges.

Children raised this way develop an implicit belief that intelligence is innate and fixed, making striving to learn seem less important than seeming smart; challenges, mistakes, and effort become threats to their ego rather than opportunities to improve.

However, teaching children to have a “growth mind-set,” which encourages effort rather than on intelligence or talent, helps make them into high achievers in school and in life. This results in “mastery-oriented” children who tend to think that intelligence is malleable and can be developed through education and hard work.

This can be done by telling stories about achievements that result from hard work. Talking about math geniuses who were born that way puts students in a fixed mind-set, but descriptions of great mathematicians who developed amazing skills over time creates a growth mind-set.



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