Friday, February 16, 2007

The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids

New York Magazine published this excellent article on The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids. Although the focus is on parenting, much of the amazing research cited is taken from studies in schools, and the results are fascinating. It sounds like building self-esteem isn't everything, and praise is only effective when it is very specific and process-oriented -- praising effort instead of saying "you're smart". A quote:
"Scholars from Reed College and Stanford reviewed over 150 praise studies. Their meta-analysis determined that praised students become risk-averse and lack perceived autonomy. The scholars found consistent correlations between a liberal use of praise and students’ “shorter task persistence, more eye-checking with the teacher, and inflected speech such that answers have the intonation of questions.”

Dweck’s research on overpraised kids strongly suggests that image maintenance becomes their primary concern—they are more competitive and more interested in tearing others down. A raft of very alarming studies illustrate this."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Friday, February 02, 2007

Best Field Trip Ever

Real learning should look more like this -- Project Happiness:
"Project Happiness follows a senior high school class from the Mount Madonna School near Watsonville, California on a journey to discover the true basis of human happiness. Joining them on this quest are the Tibetan and Indian students from the Tibetan Children’s Village in Dharamsala, India and the Dominion Heritage Academy in Jos, Nigeria.

Using the internet, video cameras, and other new communications technologies, the students will explore and create a new curriculum for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s book Ethics for the New Millennium."