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  • Adil Malia

To Praise And What To Praise?



This dilemma bothers the Parent at home as much as it bothers the Boss at the work-place and also the Teacher in her class...to Praise and what to praise ?

The agenda to praise behind all these roles - the parental, the teaching and the Managerial are uniformly the same ... to encourage people, their performances and to support them to fulfill their potential. The quintessential question therefore is - should their 'Abilities' be stroked & praised or should their 'Efforts' be ???

Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford conducted an experiment. All members of two otherwise equal groups were given ten fairly difficult (non-verbal IQ) problems to solve. Most participants from both these groups did fairly well on these.

All those in the first group were systematically praised for their Ability (though as such there were no such unique ability they noticed). They were merely told that they were indeed very smart and that reflected a unique ability. Those in the second group were praised for their Efforts.

Soon the observers noticed :

- The first group (ability praised) systematically developed a closed mindset. Though they did not deny having that imaginary ability, they did not exactly know what it exactly was. Thus they did not want to subsequently do anything that either exposed their flaws or would call into question their talent. They avoided handling the preassure any further and soon started to give excuses. Their performance plummeted. They slowly started losing faith in themselves and avoided facing challenges. They thought they were not smart at all. The burden of proving the talent was killing their engagement and their interest.

- The Second Group ( effort praised) unknowingly developed the growth mind-set. They wanted more challenging tasks to learn from. Praising their efforts made them learn and an upward swing in their IQ was subsequently noticed.

After initial success when the all participants loved the problems , in 'Round 2', the difficulty level of the problems was increased. The 'Ability Stroked' did not find it interesting any longer....how could they if their claim to fame was now in a jeopardy !!! The 'effort praised', still loved the problems particularly the hard problems.

Thus at Work or at home, between praising Abilities and Efforts, never be in doubt. Praise the Efforts. Effortlessly ! That will create students with open minds in your class which will be mature, engaged and successful

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