Saturday, September 29, 2007

Smarts is all in your head

Here is an excerpt from Leadership is a muscle that I would like to share.

"Earlier this year, Dweck and two colleagues, Kali Trzesniewsi of Stanford and Lisa S. Blackwell of Columbia, ran an experiment on junior high schoolers. If they trained the students to have a growth mind-set, would the kids' math grades improve? In less than two hours over eight weeks, they taught the students concepts such as: Your brain is like a muscle that can be developed with exercise; just as a baby gets smarter as it learns, so can you; everything is hard before it gets easy--never give up because you don't master something immediately.

The results were astonishing. The brain-is-a-muscle students significantly outperformed their peers in math, many showing dramatic turnarounds, such as the student who went from a failing grade to an 84 on her next exam. Dweck's work shows that a pure idea intervention can have a substantial effect. "The brain is a muscle" is an idea that stuck."

Something I've always thought to be true. Glad to see it get verified. :)

Similarly, I remember reading something as an undergrad, for an education class, about another study where they tested expectations of teachers and quality of learning. I don't remember the specifics exactly, but basically, the experimenters gave a teacher 3 bunches of randomly chosen students and told the teacher that one group was the most exceptional students in the school, one group was average, and another was below-average. After teaching the three groups for some time, the students' knowledge or ability was rated somehow and the best results came from the class the teacher believed to be exceptional and the worst from the group thought to be below-average. I wish I knew where this study was... If I come upon it, I'll for sure post it.

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