Magazine article Work & Family Life

How to Boost Kids' Motivation and Achievement

Magazine article Work & Family Life

How to Boost Kids' Motivation and Achievement

Article excerpt

How to boost kids' motivation and achievement

You're a natural hitter, said Marco's mom, after a Little League game. But what did Marco hear? That he was great at baseball? A born good hitter? Tough for pitchers to strike out? He'd made his mom proud?

After this, Marco might not see the need to practice hitting because he assumes he's a "natural." What if he starts the next game with confidence but strikes out twice? If this happens at a few more games, he's likely to feel confused and perhaps defeated.

Marco's mother used what Stanford Professor Carol Dweck calls "person praise." When you praise a person for being smart or naturally gifted at something, you convey the belief that success is attributable to a genetic trait over which the child has no control.

Instead Marco's mother might have used what Dr. Dweck calls "process praise," which is directed at what the child did, rather than who the child is. She might have said "Great hits, Marco. Your practice has paid off." This changes the focus to growth, progress and continued improvement.

The use of process praise also leads to a "growth mindset," a belief that kids can achieve at a higher level with effort, perseverance and resiliency. …

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