I came across a very interesting article that addresses attitudes of students in regards to learning. Carol Dweck believes that there is a difference between teaching students to get good grades because they’re naturally smart, and teaching them to get good grades as a result of hard work. She’s done research to show that being a hard worker is a more valuable attribute than having natural smarts, when it comes to schoolwork.
I was in the “naturally smart” camp, as a student. Schoolwork was never too difficult for me, which is why I never studied; I was just always able to get good grades. This became a bit of a problem when I got into college; the material was harder, of course, and I found myself needing to actually do the homework and assigned reading. Once I got into the rhythm of doing the work that went along with the classes, I found more success academically.
I think that students today could use a distinction like this. It’s not about being “smart” or “dumb”; it’s about putting in the time and work that are needed to effectively learn. I think that a lot of children today are being brought up without a critical work ethic. They aren’t taught about the value of working hard to achieve goals; it’s all about instant gratification. Dweck says that when students are able to take the responsibility of learning on themselves, “(‘The teacher had it in for me’ versus ‘I didn’t study hard enough.’ Or ‘the instructions weren’t written clearly’ versus ‘I didn’t read the instructions carefully’),” they are more flexible and capable when it comes to confronting academic challenges.
Read the article here.