New domestic research for EEF has just been published on mindset interventions. One of the researchers discusses it here:
No quick fix for pupils with a fixed mindset about their own intelligence
This is general purpose stuff not specifically super-clever stuff, but I have seen quite a few references to Dweck etc. in this forum and think it's worth reading.
My favourite little take on this area (specifically for absolutely super ultra-clever) also deserves to be here:
I have never told dd that I think she is gifted because she is taught, she learns things and the conversation never really crops up. I would never say to anyone else that she is gifted, mainly because I would feel like such a prat. She learns what she learns; why stick a label on it? I'm still largely with Dweck on this.
I'll get back to that in daylight, meanwhile here's a third link to the thoughtful DisappointedIdealist
I think that Dweck's ideas have been distorted into the easy sound bites. Much as I would like to live in a world where there were direct correlation between effort and academic achievement, I don't think we do. There is a bell curve of genetic ability which skew the results.
However, it does not mean that there is no correlation. I see it as another bell curve of what educational experience the child receives. Eventual academic ability will then be a cross over between the two.
However, when considering teaching a child on an individual level, I see no point in asking how much of their present level is due to their genetic ability or their past educational experience. All you can do is have the attitude, and more importantly give them the attitude, that if they work at this they will improve. It is really difficult to teach a child who has the attitude of "I've been told I'm no good at this".
Worse though are the smug parents of ill disciplined children who hold that their child's rudeness is due to their child being considerably more intelligent than you.
It should not come as any surprise that useful research findings are, in practice, often simplified to the point where they are no longer helpful.
It is self evident that effort cannot replace natural ability, but that even the gifted need to work in order to improve and achieve. These ideas are so completely accepted in other fields (eg sport) that I cannot understand why they should be controversial in education.
That second link is interesting. I especially like the idea of the "gift of honesty" which is something I have tried to give to my children (though not for the reasons discussed in that blogpost).
"I see it as another bell curve of what educational experience the child receives."
The curves I see are more like a cumulative distribution function that starts low, gradually increases and converges on the child's "potential" courtesy of life experience.
Regarding attitudes I think there are significant genetic influences on behavioural traits. My DD has what you might call a natural growth mindset. I expect we could have suppressed some of that, but I'm doubtful about being able to create it.
"who hold that their child's rudeness is due to their child being considerably more intelligent than you."
Given the above I'd blame part of that on gene-environment correlation, but there's clearly some wriggle-room for nurture.
"It should not come as any surprise..."
Suppose not, but I naively expected eduction to be more objective, not behaving like some neurotic adult hopping from one life-style fad to the next. That said the emergence of ResearchEd, EEF etc. are quite encouraging.
'I especially like the idea of the "gift of honesty"'
I think Gail hit a lot of targets and it's a bit depressing that they're writing for the USA i.e. that it's so similar here. I also liked the honesty point, although for me it's more about a perceptive child continuing to value my opinion.
Thanks for that second article, Pique, it's not only good but has distilled my rather incoherent arguments about what people are doing with Dweck's work into a few short paragraphs.
Over here, Dweck is increasingly being used as a reason to remove g&t provision and give extension work to those who work hard, which makes my brain ache just thinking about it.
@getinthesea, that article had the same effect on me. This stuff being used to justify removing provision together with the label is why I'm interested in the topic. It's 18 months since I first encountered the Syed et al line, and I'm still simmering over the claim that this is for their own good.
The problem with praise for being clever or getting something right is that it makes children of all ablities afraid to try. Mathew Sydd (former UK table tennis national champion) makes it clear in his book "bounce" that children only learn through making mistakes. If any child is too afraid to try then they will not learn and make the most of their potential.
Going back to the sporting analogy, it is not enough to have talent. You have to work to get to the top. There is a ten thousand hour rule for developing a skill.
As far as gifted and talented provision goes, a lot depends on how children are allocated to the provision. In some schools in the US once a very young child is allocated to the gifted and talented provision they are there for ever. Things like CAT scores or IQ tests are treated as a sacred cow.
I don't believe the Dwerk is advocating no differentiation, but maybe being a little bit more fluid about children moving in and out of any gifted provision.
Reallytired, I completely agree that children only learn by making mistakes, but to some degree that's the point of g&t provision. It gives them work that is hard enough so that they do make mistakes. If the work's too easy, they never learn that resilience, and they never learn to put in the hours either.
We tell DD that mistakes are good, because it shows that the work is at the right level and that she is learning, whereas if she is getting everything right then there is a problem and we need to fix it.
Children who are more advanced need more advanced work so that they remain challenged. An issue is that gifted and talented provision can be very rigid over which children are selected. Children develop at different speeds and just because a child is advanced at five years old does not mean they will remain at the top of the class. Intelligence is a bit like height in that children go through intellectual spurts.
Schools are reluctant to take an under achieving child off the gifted list. It cloggs up the entire system.
I think that the majority of moderately gifted can be stretched by good teachers without much in the way of specific provision.
Problems are more likely to arise with children right at the right-hand side of the curve, but lumping them in with the moderately gifted is not going to be that helpful anyway. I don't know what percentage of a student body makes it into G&T programmes in the UK, but if you look at the top 10% in my DD's school the spread of ability is still very wide.
10% is the rule in England. That doesn't mean the top 10% are gifted, only that this was the first sift to find the truly gifted and talented.
The original policy idea was to capture anyone who may be gifted, but possibly not showing it, and give them the opportunity to be educated by the state system in a way that rivals.
I don't think there is an agreed, measurable definition of gifted. You know it when you see it e.g. Thomas who won the child genius competition on tv a few nights ago.
Saying that, other countries use 1% as the cut off, although that seems a bit harsh on those who are merely more able than 98.5%!
.... in a way that rivals the independent sector.
God what is wrong with me these days!
I totally agree with you and made the mistake of telling dd about the 10,000 hour rule . I am reading outliers atm, had it for years but only just got round to it.
I think it's important to tell children that a lot of work and dedication has to be given to their talent/gift etc.
It's important for them to know however good they become there will always be somebody better than they.
Syed... 10,000 hours.... noooo
But I'll skip that and ask a question. If a child is that gifted/clever then why don't they work out for themselves that they're not the best in the universe at everything, that some things require effort and so on?
I'd guess pique because the emotional maturity to analyse your own behavior and response, and reason through to the logical conclusion, won't develop or be at the same standard as intellectual development/ intelligence/ ability/ reasoning skills. And even when they can start to reason through their own feelings chances are most children will still have the childish lack of control that goes with their physical age that results in frustration etc.
I also believe that children need some point of valid reference to reason from, and the more ability they have in that area the more obscure the reference point can be. But when it comes to self analysis they don't usually have that valid reference point, because it's too obscure for their emotional intelligence to reason from.
Since mindsets are doing the rounds again, here's another link to a relevant weekend blog post which has attracted a couple of quite interesting comments:
And another, this time it's some serious um.. artillery:
"... Professor Plomin says that genetics play a big role in determining how much of a natural appetite and inclination to learn pupils have. Therefore, the assumption that changing their attitude to learning can make a big difference is misplaced, he argues.
“Growth mindset, I feel, is greatly overplayed," Professor Plomin told TES.
@justrichmal and reallytired, cant agree with you more, I had my daughter coming to explore centre due to childcare issue and because they accept childcare voucher and they do give rewarding lizard cards my daughter loves collecting them but I pulled her out from this month as I could arrange childcare and there is no point having 100% in every single thing that you do without any effort. I have never thought my dd is gifted at anything I truly dont think she is even now she likes maths better and good at it but there are so much to do and to learn without putting effort into it and going direction then that ability will be washed in couple of years
I find this whole topic very interesting but worrying. My son is awful at refusing to try things he doesn't think he can do. He loves learning but not doing. The thing is, I could berate myself for over-praising him as a toddler when he achieved something (I probably did - don't we all do that?) but I do fully believe that it is part of who he is.
I'm not against helping kids to be more resilient and I'm massively in favour of praising and encouraging hard work. BUT rather than trying to change something that may be inherent in their personality, shouldn't we be trying to work with them as the people that they are.
(And isn't all of this just another guilt stick for us parents to beat ourselves up with?)
Bit late on this, but (yes), YES, (yes) to your questions. You win this impish Judith Rich Harris response to Larkin's 'This Be The Verse':
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth
To hear your child make such a fuss.
It isn’t fair—it’s not the truth—
He’s fucked up, yes, but not by us.
It's also at the end of a quite good recent round-up of parenting effects: quillette.com/2015/12/01/why-parenting-may-not-matter-and-why-most-social-science-research-is-probably-wrong/
Carol Dweck was e-mailed this article when it was published. She has not responded.
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