For some years now I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of American psychologist Carol Dweck and her views on child-rearing.
Now the Brits have caught on with media psychologist Professor Tanya Byron and Professor Guy Claxton , together with Mind Gym founder Octavia Black, backing a manifesto to encourage British parers and teachers to adopt Dweck’s ideas. These are set out in a new book ‘Educating Ruby‘ by Claxton & Lucas.
Dweck argues that children:
- should be praised for hard work rather than innate intelligence
- should be allowed to make mistakes, which should bed seen as learning opportunities
- should be allowed to make their own decisions, even if it means failing at the task, so they can become more confident
Her approach may not result in a string of (devalued) A grades but will make the child more resilient and able to solve problems at college and later in life.
It’s reported that British schools are full of anxious and depressed children. Byron says it’s because they re over-tested, force-fed and misunderstood (?). She says she sees children struggling at school ‘to an extent that it severely compromises their mental health and daily functioning’.
Claxton says that universities are seeing increasing numbers of students seeking counselling because they fear being unmasked as an imposter.
‘Imposter syndrome’ is on the increase according to counselling services at Oxford and Cambridge because schools are getting better at force-feeding students into getting the grades they need for university but nor preparing them for real life!
Claxton says ‘don’t rescue your kids, especially girls, too quickly’. Parents tend to see boys as more resilient.
Dweck’s current research is helping children understand that perseverance and effort can help them realise their ambitions.
Another programme helps them to control and regulate their emotions ( key elements in emotional intelligence) so they can put negative experiences into perspective and reduce the likelihood of it leading to negative thoughts.