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Education Math Stats Science

It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart 243

Posted by timothy
from the converse-is-also-true dept.
theodp writes Over at Khan Academy, Salman Khan explains Why I'm Cautious About Telling My Son He's Smart. "Recently," writes Khan, "I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach." According to Dr. Carol Dweck, who Khan cites, the secret to raising smart kids is not telling kids that they are. A focus on effort — not on intelligence or ability — says Dweck, is key to success in school and in life.
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It's Dumb To Tell Kids They're Smart

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  • No no (Score:3, Funny)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:25AM (#47736797)

    Your children are precious and if unable or unwilling to achieve things for themselves we must institute a quota system in order that they can bring their unique life perspective to various public and private roles.

    • Re:No no (Score:4, Insightful)

      by penguinoid (724646) <spambait001@yahoo.com> on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:04PM (#47737011) Homepage Journal

      "No, son, you're not smart. Everyone else is stupid, and they're interested in boring things, and they always take the path of least resistance. The path of least resistance is mostly safe, but if you want to be anyone you have to make your own way."

    • Re:No no (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:14PM (#47737401) Homepage

      Praise the kid for good ideas, but also ask your kid - how do you think this or that could be better?

      To be smart means that you don't stop thinking of how things can be better.

      And don't get angry at your kids because they take things apart - they learn from it. Pulling apart a cheap mechanical alarm clock to learn how it's made is part of the learning process. Unfortunately most modern devices are just bricks - there's nothing to learn from taking them apart.

      It's also part of the learning process to know how hard you can pull a screw before it breaks. You can list and use all the torque numbers in the world, but sometimes having the right feeling for how hard you can tighten a screw - and how it feels when it's done right is worth a lot more than having an advanced torque-limiting tool.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:35PM (#47737789)

        Unfortunately most modern devices are just bricks - there's nothing to learn from taking them apart.

        Not true. There is still plenty to learn, just different things. Let your kids use your oscilloscope, logic analyzer, and hot air gun. Teach them how to Google IC numbers. They can still learn a lot by taking apart a modern alarm clock.

      • Re:No no (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Frobnicator (565869) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:02PM (#47738971) Journal

        Praise the kid for good ideas, but also ask your kid - how do you think this or that could be better?

        Those are part of it, but really the report is just that Khan discovered something well-known in education.

        Really, it is well known for everybody involved in motivation.

        You get more of whatever you recognize.

        Any school teacher can explain how when you point out the bad behavior, "Johnny, sit back down", you have rewarded the child. It may not be what most people think of as recognition, but it serves to reinforce the behavior.

        When you recognize a child "You are smart", or "You are so fast", or other attributes that they cannot control, it can have many negative effects. One negative effect is the child can become complacent. They may think to themselves, I'm already good enough, I don't need to do any more. When that happens the child will quickly stop succeeding. Another negative effect is the child can become fearful. They may think to themselves, I don't know what I did to become smart, what if I'm not smart enough tomorrow? What if I lose it? I've seen this happen to several children who quickly break down.

        Instead, educators are taught to reward effort when they see it. Publicly praise how Johnny has worked hard on the project. Comment about how it looks like Jenny spent many hours researching the detail. When you are uncertain, praise anyway, "It must have taken some effort to prepare all of this, good job."

        Those families that encourage learning tend to also reward and encourage effort. There may be a few of the "you're so smart" complements, but there will also be statements like "Good job figuring those details out", "That looks complicated, it must have taken effort to understand", "You studied a lot", etc. Generally the focus is (and should be) on rewarding the effort and the completion of tasks rather than rewarding the natural state.

        Rounding it out, for kids in sports you complement "Good job working hard at practice today" to reward the effort rather than "Good job at being so tall" which is something they cannot control.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:25AM (#47736799) Homepage

    The funny thing is I was told all the time growing up that I was "extremely smart" and "gifted", when in reality, I didn't FEEL like I was.

    Sure, I could do things with computers that few of the other kids could do, like program and build things. But I don't think I was "smart". I just LIKED doing those things, so I did them all the time, and thus became really good at those things.

    Meanwhile, you could ask me to cook a meal at the time and I'd completely fail because I never cooked. I didn't enjoy it, and was thus lousy at it.

    I don't think I was unusually "smart" or "gifted". I just got obsessed with computers and technology, so I got good at those things.

    • by Livius (318358) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:35AM (#47736845)

      I figured out I was smart as a kid.

      I also figured out that intelligence was a liability, and I've still seen very few environments where that wasn't true, and all of those only well after childhood.

      • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:55AM (#47736949) Journal

        I also figured out that intelligence was a liability, and I've still seen very few environments where that wasn't true, and all of those only well after childhood.

        Intelligence isn't a liability. Trying to tell other people they are wrong all the time is a liability. Telling people, "I am smarter than you, so you are wrong" is a liability.

        Intelligence isn't a liability, but the interpersonal skills you developed around your intelligence might be. (If you're so smart, you should have figured this out by now. Maybe you need to work harder).

        • by Wraithlyn (133796) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:18PM (#47737073)

          Trying to tell other people they are wrong all the time is a liability. Telling people, "I am smarter than you, so you are wrong" is a liability [...] If you're so smart, you should have figured this out by now.

          You literally just did this with your own post. You told the parent he was wrong, and then implied it was because he wasn't smart enough.

        • by Livius (318358) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:29PM (#47737135)

          Trying to tell other people they are wrong all the time is a liability. Telling people, "I am smarter than you, so you are wrong" is a liability.

          I'll have to take your word for it; I wouldn't know since I never did any of that.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:54PM (#47737295)

          I met a kid that transferred from one of those "grade on effort" rather than "grade on accomplishment" schools. They rewarded kids for how hard they tried, not how well they did, and the kids did exactly what any self-respecting sociopath would do: they pretended to try hard.

          This kid was raging at her teacher for giving her an F on her spelling test. She kept saying "i tried as hard as I could, and the teacher KNOWS I am a bad speller!" But (as far as I know) the kid had not spent a single minute of her week actually studying for the test. She tried during the test, which does no good at all. And, in her prior environment, she would have been given an A and the teachers would have been patting their own backs at what a good job they were doing at encouraging a learning mindset.

          I agree in principle....the value of "its ok to fail so long as you try" is very worthwhile to instill in the kids. But the value of "I get away with failure if I convince people I tried" is pure poison. One must be very careful not to instill the latter when aiming for the former.

        • by JoeMerchant (803320) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:55PM (#47737301)

          I also figured out that intelligence was a liability, and I've still seen very few environments where that wasn't true, and all of those only well after childhood.

          Intelligence isn't a liability. Trying to tell other people they are wrong all the time is a liability. Telling people, "I am smarter than you, so you are wrong" is a liability.

          You don't have to tell people you are smarter directly. I spooked the hell out of a girlfriend who had a crazy 3 on 5 off (with other kinks in the pattern) schedule because, after 2 weeks, I had it figured out and when we were making plans for something next week, I told her when she was working and when she was free: "how'd you know that?" "Well, you're working tomorrow and it's time for the 4 week long break..." "I only know my schedule by looking it up..." "Oh...."

          People who perceive you are smarter (whether you are, or not) will often treat you as a threat. http://abcnews.go.com/Business... [go.com]

          Icahn has called CEOs the survivors of the corporate world, but says it's the "survival of the unfittest": "[The CEO] would never have anyone underneath him as his assistant that's brighter than he is because that might constitute a threat. So therefore, with many exceptions, we have CEO's becoming dumber and dumber and dumber."

          • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:01PM (#47737339) Journal

            You don't have to tell people you are smarter directly. I spooked the hell out of a girlfriend who had a crazy 3 on 5 off (with other kinks in the pattern) schedule because, after 2 weeks, I had it figured out and when we were making plans for something next week, I told her when she was working and when she was free: "how'd you know that?" "Well, you're working tomorrow and it's time for the 4 week long break..." "I only know my schedule by looking it up..." "Oh...."

            Once you realize that being smarter doesn't make you better, then you'll be fine.

          • by St.Creed (853824) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @03:16PM (#47737985)

            People who perceive you are smarter (whether you are, or not) will often treat you as a threat.

            Unless you make sure *they* reach their goals and know that they did it because you helped them - unobtrusively, not rubbing their nose in it, coaching them as much as you can. As a freelancer/contractor (thus: non-threatening) this has helped me get a lot of repeat business because the clients *like* me. Even up to the CxO level. It's also a matter of knowing your weaknesses: I'm not going to encroach on any CxO area because that's not where my ambition lies.

            I did see one very smart guy getting the boot from my own boss. He knew he was smart (and he was), but he was also a really annoying asshole who always tried to let other folks do all the work - and my boss knew. He went over the line one time too many and got fired. Now, he wasn't a threat, but he would be exactly the type to whine about how "dumb people fire smart people", instead of taking a good hard look at his own behaviour.

            In my experience I've never seen people getting fired because they were smart. They've always been fired because they were trying to be a bit too clever for their own good and played fast and loose with the rules ("I don't need to test this change before it enters production - I *know* it's good!" - in a regulated environment) and with their colleagues and boss. And sometimes because they thought they were smart, but the rest of the world just disagreed.

        • by ultranova (717540) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:26PM (#47737467)

          Intelligence isn't a liability. Trying to tell other people they are wrong all the time is a liability.

          Mmmm.... no. Anything that makes you stand out in any way whatsoever is a liability, since it makes you a target. Intelligence is especially bad since it marks you as a potential future rival but won't boost your current ability to defend yourself.

          Childhood is a jungle, and children are beasts.

        • by Dragon Bait (997809) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @05:08PM (#47738669)

          Intelligence isn't a liability.

          It certainly can be. With schools aiming for the middle or least common denominator, intelligent kids get bored and don't live up to their potential. The kid that is motivated and has to struggle is far ahead in this system than the kid that is intelligent, finds everything easy, and gets bored with it all.

        • by reanjr (588767) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:14PM (#47739033) Homepage

          Intelligence can be a liability when you are surrounded by people who continuously spew a stream on nonsense from their mouth holes. When you know every word coming from someone's mouth is utter bullshit, lies, misunderstandings, or misdirection, it's not appropriate to blame poor social skill when you treat that person like a worthless piece of shit.

      • by loufoque (1400831) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @03:04PM (#47737903)

        I've figured I was smart when I was sent to a special school that only accepted people with high IQ.
        It was arguably the worse year of my life.

        If you're ever offered to do this for your kid, think twice.

        • by Pulzar (81031) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @03:17PM (#47738001)

          I've figured I was smart when I was sent to a special school that only accepted people with high IQ. It was arguably the worse year of my life.

          I had the opposite experience. For the first time in my schooling years, I felt like I fit in, and I developed my social skills and found new confidence in myself. I was very happy to be there.

          Like they say, every kid is different, there's no universal formula to explain what will work and what won't.

          • by loufoque (1400831) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @03:49PM (#47738195)

            On the contrary, it should hurt your social skills significantly. In real life you can't have the luxury of not interacting with normal people.

            • by s0nicfreak (615390) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:41PM (#47739185) Homepage Journal
              That's not true at all, an adult can choose to surround themselves with only not-normal people, and use self-checkouts, online ordering etc. to avoid interacting with normal people.
            • by Your.Master (1088569) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:42PM (#47739191)

              Sure you do. In real life, I interact with four sets of people:

              1. My friends, who I get to choose, subject only to the limitation that they also have to choose me as a friend.
              2. My coworkers, which I don't totally get to choose, but I can choose a profession that is inaccessible to people who aren't above average.
              3. People I exchange goods and services with, like retail cashiers, repairmen, waitstaff, etc.. They can run the full gamut, but I honestly don't have to spend a lot of time with them. Unlike school, where you had to spend ~30ish hours a week with the same people whether they are jackasses or angels.

              And with things like amazon.com and slef-checkout at grocery stores, even this level of interaction is being reduced to mostly skilled tradesmen or airport security.
              4. My family, who I didn't choose (except for a hypothetical future spouse, or technically if I adopted a kid I guess).

              Basically every other interaction is either an exception (eg. random police stop, construction workers redirecting me because they're busy fucking up the sidewalk I need to walk on for whatever reason) or by my own choice.

              Besides which, the social skills to talk to smart people aren't completely independent of the social skills to talk to not-so-smart people, honestly. There are some differences, but smart people just aren't that special.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:44AM (#47736895)

      I had a similar experience. I excelled at math, science, computers, anything like that. I maintained good grades and was consistently at the top of my class. I was always praised for being smart and my future with a great job and a nice house was all but assured. After graduating college with an engineering degree and a 3.8 GPA, I was practically unemployable. I was either told I had no experience or was seen as a flight risk. So here I am on the backside of thirty, stuck in a dead-end job making drunken posts on the internet about how much I hate 3D printers and Space Nutters. Hell, it even got me banned from FARK.

      I wish no one ever set me up to fail. by telling me I am smart, giving me such high expectations. I wish someone would have slapped my 4-year old head and said "good grades don't put food on the table, go get a real job!"

    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:57AM (#47736965) Homepage

      Yeah. And now look at you. Slashdot. Saturday morning.....

    • by alvinrod (889928) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:04PM (#47737007)
      To some degree there's a difference between ability and capability. If you absolutely needed to learn how to be an excellent cook, would you have the capacity to do so? Being a good cook takes work, much like anything else, and I believe it extends beyond simply being able to follow a recipe that perhaps only a genuine passion for cooking can engender. However there are a lot of people who struggle to program and often it goes beyond coding ability and has more to do with fundamental problem solving skills.

      Another aspect of your feelings may be related to knowing enough to know your limitations. At least for me personally, the more I've learned, the more I've realized that there's so much more to learn and that all of it comes with an opportunity cost. Sure, I could learn how to repair my own car and fix any of the problems it might have, but I'd much rather just know enough to take care of the basics and leave the rest to someone else who's more interested in that line of work while I stick to computers. Meanwhile both my mechanic and I are enabling someone else who's really interested in curing cancer to devout more of their time to those pursuits.

      In the modern world it doesn't really matter if you're terrible at 99% of things if that 1% of things that your good at is valuable to everyone else. Most people are smart in some regard and likely choose to specialize in it. Sure there might be people who are more capable than others in terms of acquiring degrees of proficiency in arbitrary areas, but more than likely they'll end up specializing in a particular field and have a few hobbies on the side. If you can add value, does it really matter what percentiles you fall into?
    • by Anna Merikin (529843) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:16PM (#47737059) Journal

      I didn't need anyone to tell me I was smart. I figured it out myself. As you say, I was "smart" at the subjects I loved and not so much at others. Now, as an "elder", I tell those coming up If you want to be rich and-or famous, develop your talents. But if you want to be happy, work on your weaknesses: Become round.

      BTW, If someone had told me life could be so good at 71 years, I'd have had more courage in my youth.

    • by tylikcat (1578365) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:22PM (#47737103)

      I got enough feedback when I was young that I was unusually smart that I did eventually accept it in a provisional way as part of the social reality. (As in, it was a pretty consistent part of how people responded to me.) I also got a lot of very mixed feedback about it - from my standpoint, I did well in academics mostly because I enjoyed the topics. (All of them. Which mostly left me with the sense that I wasn't particularly good at anything.) But it took me quite a while to find a social group,* I was alternately told what a freak I was and then expected to perform on cue, and then there was my mother's complaints about how I failed her by not being the normal popular daughter she wanted. (My mother was also pretty epic when it came to incomprehensible judgements. I think my favorite, in retrospect, is how she told my I was a lazy procrastinator who would never manage to complete anything or amount to anything - just like Leonardo da Vinci. Wat?!) In school I had a few really great teachers - like the one who finally more or less forced my mother to put me into the gifted program - but even in the gifted program the material was often not challenging,** and I was stuck between being pretty bored and being able to skate by, and having total shit study skills. And then I was put into college when I was thirteen, and started off with twenty credit hours.

      Being encouraged to work hard, and encouraged to try things that risk failure would have been really, really good for me. (Not that I didn't try things that risked failure - see again obnoxious kid - but it would have been useful to have a framework to see that as not being totally stupid.) I ended up being so weirded out by the whole "child prodigy" bullshit that after a somewhat wild ride (mostly for reasons not academically relevant) I ended up getting my undergrad degree in Chinese Language and Literature. And I think a lot of that was that it was the first subject I'd found where I could absolutely work my ass off... and get a 3.6. So I suppose I did eventually get to that focused hard work point, but some guidance and mentorship along the way might have been nice. (And some mentorship about what to do about things like math, where I was strongly self taught but had no idea what to do in a college setting would have been stellar.)

      * Well, a "peer group", anyway. Say, not my dad's grad students.
      ** Okay, to be fair, most of it was okay, except I maxed out the math they offerred in the first year - my dad had been buying me college text books since I'd was fairly young - and math was a required subject, so I kept on having to take classes I'd already tested out of. And I was an obnoxious kid.

    • by suprcvic (684521) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:41PM (#47737213)
      I was in a similar situation. My parents always told me I was so smart because I could do some things on the computer so I pursued a career in IT. Most miserable 10 years of my life. What was once a hobby, became a chore that I wasn't any good at because I only enjoyed doing the things I was interested in. If I wasn't interested in it, like networking, servers, and such, I completely lacked motivation to do it. I've since found my passion and am on my way to working in that field.
    • by Technician (215283) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:51PM (#47737265)

      How smart you are depends on whose Kitchen you are standing in at the time. Sub Shop for kitchen and you get the idea. Put a BBQ chef in a bakery and watch the failure.

      A movie I really enjoyed about not telling students how good they are is "The Paper Chase" A student feels pressure to not flunk out as a failure. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt00... [imdb.com] Older film, great drama.

    • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @04:33PM (#47738463)
      I was told that I was smart. I felt like I was smart. My grades, my ability to answer questions while mostly asleep, and the fact that everyone always asked me when they couldn't do things all proved I was smart. Everyone told me I was destined for great things, and I believed it.

      Unfortunately, since it took so long for me to encounter something that required me to actually work, I didn't learn to do that until far too late. I had plenty of time to run around being a smart little asshole, and later on, plenty of time to learn that everyone hated me for it, and only tolerated me for oracular ability to remember shit that was going to be on the test. Once I realized I actually wasn't going to amount to anything, on account of being too depressed to care about doing so, I also had plenty of time to reflect on how I was failing everyone who believed in my potential.

      The mistake isn't telling them they're smart. It's convincing them that being smart is an important gift, and that it will bring them success and respect. You only get those things by learning things that aren't taught in school, and people should be able to feel like they're worth something without them anyway.
  • by Livius (318358) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:27AM (#47736807)

    ...when I tell my cat she's cute.

  • by thieh (3654731) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:29AM (#47736817)
    Just tell your kids that they are ugly (or don't tell your kids they look good) to raise prettier kids? That was easy.
  • by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@ei r c o m .net> on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:31AM (#47736825) Homepage Journal

    But if you don't puff up your offspring with enough praise early one, how will they have the iron-cast confidence to windbag their way to the top in todays bullshit world? Again, what use is true intelligence if you don't have the bellicosity to shout down all gainsayers?

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:49AM (#47736915) Journal

      But if you don't puff up your offspring with enough praise early one, how will they have the iron-cast confidence to windbag their way to the top in todays bullshit world?

      You didn't read the articles. The point uncovered in the research is that telling kids they are smart gives them less confidence (presumably because they are afraid failure means they are not smart, so they are afraid to try).

      When you are raising kids, and he accomplishes something, you have two options (actually more, but these are under consideration here):
      1) Say, "you succeeded! You must be so smart!"
      2) Say, "you succeeded! You must have worked hard!"

      Eventually your kid is going to fail, because we all do, know matter how smart we are, and kid #1 is going to say inside himself, "oh, I am not smart. Maybe if I don't try next time, no one will notice." Kid #2 will say inside himself, "oh, I failed. Maybe next time if I work harder, I will succeed."

      • by sunhou (238795) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:32PM (#47737153)

        Unless kid #2 in fact had tried very hard but still failed, and says to himself, "Even my best attempt was not good enough. Next time I won't try so hard; that way, if I fail, I can just claim/believe it's because I didn't try my best." There are many ways to try and protect one's confidence in the face of failure.

        Not that I disagree with the basic premise here, that it's better to praise kids for effort (something they can control) than intrinsic talents.

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:48PM (#47737247) Journal

          Unless kid #2 in fact had tried very hard but still failed, and says to himself, "Even my best attempt was not good enough. Next time I won't try so hard; that way, if I fail, I can just claim/believe it's because I didn't try my best."

          That's a hypothesis, but in the actual studies it didn't seem to happen.

      • by eulernet (1132389) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:40PM (#47737203)

        "oh, I failed. Maybe next time if I work harder, I will succeed."

        And this is why we have so much people working too hard and filled with stress, because they hope to "succeed".

        The idea is to replace "I can do it because I'm smart" with "I can do it if I put more effort".
        Frankly, both of these are beliefs, and dangerous ones at that !
        What happens when you realize that you cannot do it, no matter the amount of effort ?

        Why not simply encourage curiosity and open-mindedness, instead on focusing on results ?
        Is the result so much more important than the way to do things ?

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:50PM (#47737261) Journal

          And this is why we have so much people working too hard and filled with stress, because they hope to "succeed".

          To counteract that problem, make sure your kids know you will love them no matter what happens.

          • by eulernet (1132389) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:41PM (#47739183)

            To counteract that problem, make sure your kids know you will love them no matter what happens.

            The problem is that kids want to fulfill hidden orders.
            Let's suppose that you reward them for doing a given task, while you tell them that you'll love them even if they fail.
            Given their point of view, they might believe that finishing a task must be rewarded (you encourage extrinsic motivation), or that the task is not important as long as you don't hate them (you provide a false sense of security that everything will be fine as long as you are here, what happens when you won't be there ?).

            But the most important problem is from yourself.
            Perhaps unconsciously, you believe that you didn't succeed as much as you deserved to.
            So you believe that your children should "succeed" where you "failed", and thus you are trying to bend their personality.
            It's easy, because their personality is quite malleable when they are very young.
            When they'll start getting older, they'll realize that you didn't respect their personality because you wanted what you consider the "best" for them.
            Perhaps it was true in the past, but now, it's not true anymore. Will you be able to change your plans ?

            Finally, what is "success" or "failure" anyway ?

        • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @04:59PM (#47738619)

          Is the result so much more important than the way to do things ?

          Sometimes yes. You don't want a surgeon that is not at least bit focused on the result. Or a bridge engineer.

      • by reanjr (588767) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @06:16PM (#47739045) Homepage

        Telling a smart kid they are smart is good for confidence. Telling a dumb kid they are smart sets them up for failure.

  • by alen (225700) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:44AM (#47736893)

    you might have a hard part it will take hours of practice to pass and you get a nice cut scene as a reward

    i do the same thing with my kids. i'll help them with video games but after a while make them figure it out themselves. and they get a nice reward after they figure it out

  • Still not adding up (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:52AM (#47736931)

    If this is true, why do psychologists continue to focus so much on IQ? Why do they insist there is a strong, undeniable link between IQ and success that must be catered to? Why has funding for students who, as they say, "are merely bright, but not gifted" entirely disappeared in favor of a fully mainstream approach? Why are the hard working students who achieve but who are not obvious savants lumped in with the merely average, and worst, the probably hopeless (whatever the reason)?

    Is this real science, or feel good "also-ran" science for the ignorant and unspecial, as one might be led to believe if one actually believed psychology was anything like actual science? We all want to believe articles like this are true, IQ is a bitter pill to swallow and one that seems even murkier the more one reads about it, however it represents our cultures mindset towards success. No company wants a merely bright hard-working person, they want a genius, they worship that genius. Give an academic institution a test, and they will run off with the truly exceptional students (the SATs allegedly correlate to IQ at 0.82, so they actually DO this). Give a corporation that test and they'll probably rather do without than hire anyone with an IQ below 120, which of course, represents the majority of people.

    I prefer to believe what is in this article in the same way that I prefer to believe in Free Will, but, however disappointing this may be, this does not reflect the prevailing attitudes of people that matter. Nothing in this article is substantial enough to use as a weapon to change education, and ultimately it's just feel good drivel, much like I think the IQ studies to date are, although sadly they represent the established convention. From a magazine like Scientific American I want something I can USE to make change.

    • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:36PM (#47737179) Journal

      If this is true, why do psychologists continue to focus so much on IQ?

      I don't know what psychologists you're hanging out with, but the field has moved on at least twice from IQ in the last 30 years. Which isn't to say IQ is worthless, it still measures of ability.

      Is this real science

      Yes.

      No company wants a merely bright hard-working person, they want a genius, they worship that genius.

      This is definitely not true lol, companies mainly want someone who can get the job done for the smallest cost. That's why we have outsourcing, etc. The only ones seeking raw intelligence are research labs, and even they tend to want a PhD or evidence that you actually know things.

      I prefer to believe what is in this article in the same way that I prefer to believe in Free Will,

      If you actually want to find out, instead of 'believing,' then go read the actual studies, for that is where knowledge is to be found.

      • by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:57PM (#47737587)

        If you actually want to find out, instead of 'believing,' then go read the actual studies, for that is where knowledge is to be found.

        I am not a psychologist, where do I find such things? Even the responses to my post are all over the place. I'm not doing a "citation please" troll, but all I have found in my searches is very contradictory evidence and in PRACTICE IQ is the gating factor in most texas school districts, and several others I've looked at. IQ continues to be seen as the gold standard practice, or metrics that amount to the same. Innate ability is preferred over achievement. Yet any time you look at IQ results you see it strongly correlated with things that clearly have nothing to do with intelligence (race, upbringing, background, flynn effect, etc.). If psychologists have deprecated IQ or related metrics (i.e. g, and others), why do they still exist? My opinion is it has more to do with money than actual science, but it remains in belief until I can justify it to myself.

        I disagree about what companies want, at any given time I am usually employed by one of the top end tech companies, they're all relatively similar. Companies still being seen in a growth phase (which are companies I try to be at, because $$$) tends to want to hire geniuses, we set the bar extremely high and effectively administer an IQ test (granted a very narrowly focused one). We don't make you demonstrate experience, we make you solve problems on the fly, under pressure in a test-taker format. Companies that have peaked want to hire the cheapest person they can find who is fit to do the job, but give them a way to quantify that and I assure you they'd be all over it and make spreadsheets with a red line on it.

        • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:12PM (#47737691) Journal

          I am not a psychologist, where do I find such things?

          Start by reading the article.

          in PRACTICE IQ is the gating factor in most texas school districts,

          Texas school districts are decades behind the latest scientific research? Shocking.

          I disagree about what companies want, at any given time I am usually employed by one of the top end tech companies

          Your experience is not representative of the mean.

      • by TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @05:04PM (#47738643)

        Which isn't to say IQ is worthless, it still measures of ability.

        Only in the US. Where it is mostly just a self fulfilling prophecy.

        I would argue not only is that IQ as it is currently measured is worthless as it does not measure what it set out to. But also that the fundamental assumption behind it is also flawed.

    • by MobyDisk (75490) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:41PM (#47737211) Homepage

      If this is true, why do psychologists continue to focus so much on IQ? Why do they insist there is a strong, undeniable link between IQ and success that must be catered to?

      Because there is a strong, undeniable link between IQ and success. Unfortunately the second article is partially paywalled, but I don't see anything in it that asserts otherwise. Do not misconstrue the following excerpt:

      A focus on effort — not on intelligence or ability — says Dweck, is key to success in school and in life.

      One could read that and jump to the conclusion that this means that intelligence is not related to success. But that is not what it is saying. It is merely saying that if you butter-up an intelligent person, they will be more likely to fail. That is not the same as saying that IQ is not related to success.

    • by m00sh (2538182) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:45PM (#47737231)

      If this is true, why do psychologists continue to focus so much on IQ? Why do they insist there is a strong, undeniable link between IQ and success that must be catered to? Why has funding for students who, as they say, "are merely bright, but not gifted" entirely disappeared in favor of a fully mainstream approach? Why are the hard working students who achieve but who are not obvious savants lumped in with the merely average, and worst, the probably hopeless (whatever the reason)?

      Psychologists said that over 50 years ago but they do not say that all anymore. There was a famous experiment where the kid's IQs were tested and later on after 20-30 years their success measured. The higher IQ were no better off than the average IQ. In fact, a randomly selected group of kids were as successful as the high IQ group.

      Psychologists actually say there isn't a strong link between IQ and success. There is a minimum IQ (which is fairly low) and above that IQ everyone has an equal chance. The most used analogy to this is height in basketball. There is a certain height after which height is not an advantage. Basketball is not full of the tallest people and successful people are not the people with the highest IQs.

      Is this real science, or feel good "also-ran" science for the ignorant and unspecial, as one might be led to believe if one actually believed psychology was anything like actual science? We all want to believe articles like this are true, IQ is a bitter pill to swallow and one that seems even murkier the more one reads about it, however it represents our cultures mindset towards success. No company wants a merely bright hard-working person, they want a genius, they worship that genius. Give an academic institution a test, and they will run off with the truly exceptional students (the SATs allegedly correlate to IQ at 0.82, so they actually DO this). Give a corporation that test and they'll probably rather do without than hire anyone with an IQ below 120, which of course, represents the majority of people.

      Companies do not want geniuses, they want people who are team players and will fit in the company culture. Even Google has published reports that they cannot correlate the success of an employee to any measurable metric like GPA, or how good they were at the brain teasers. It has been well known that the highest IQ, GPA or what-not employees are not the most successful.

      I prefer to believe what is in this article in the same way that I prefer to believe in Free Will, but, however disappointing this may be, this does not reflect the prevailing attitudes of people that matter. Nothing in this article is substantial enough to use as a weapon to change education, and ultimately it's just feel good drivel, much like I think the IQ studies to date are, although sadly they represent the established convention. From a magazine like Scientific American I want something I can USE to make change.

      If you have a really low IQ, you're too dumb to care. If you have a medium or high IQ, it does not affect your chance of success.

      Another analogy is that IQ is like speed. A higher IQ can person can get somewhere faster than a person of lower IQ. It does not mean a higher IQ person can get to places that a lower IQ person cannot. So, what is more important is the direction that you go rather than the speed.

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:59AM (#47736985) Journal

    Success is about being in the right place at the right time with the correct skill set to take advantage of the situation. Hard work is the way you maximize your skill sets to that should you find yourself at the intersection of time and place you take advantage of it. The thing is, not only can't that intersection be anticipated, it can't be identified even when it's happening. Only in hindsight can you look back and realize where the critical moment was when your success actually started. Sadly, most people can't even do that. They believe that climbing the mountain of success was solely the result of having applied their skills and hard work, never realizing that - as the result of fortuitous time and place of their application - they were actually running down hill from that point on.

  • by Oligonicella (659917) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:07PM (#47737025)

    Just don't sing their praises and make sure they understand it's only one component of who they are and can easily be out-balanced by bad traits. Or, similarly, as it once told my daughter "Remember, a pretty bitch is still a bitch."

    The goal should be guiding them towards being a decent and well-adjusted individual.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:49PM (#47737255)

    You forgot about the importance of "self esteem" and feeling that you can do something.

    Too many kids eschew math, because they think they're not any good.

    I say... tell them they're good.

    "You're pretty smart for a kid, keep studying and you may have a great future. Keep up the good hard work though, if you aren't careful, the average students can still catch up with you and leave you in the dust."

  • by twistedcubic (577194) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @12:53PM (#47737281)
    I think Khan is being a little too cautious. However, being a millionaire, he probably is more careful to instill certain values in his children, since they'll never do without for lack of money. I often read on the internet about how parents too often praise their kids for being smart, but I've never seen this in real life (except for my children, who are brilliant ;) I wouldn't take the research literally. I think people should take all the good lessons learned from their parents, along with some common sense, and pass them on to their children.
  • ..... is that when they don't succeed at something, believing that they should have been smart enough to succeed, they can easily come to the conclusion that others are to blame for their failure, and can discourage them from trying again, believing the deck has been stacked against them all along.
  • by TomGreenhaw (929233) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:03PM (#47737347)
    The author didn't say he avoids telling his kids that they are smart, he said he was careful about it.

    One of the main secrets to raising smart kids is setting high but achievable standards and providing life experiences where they can succeed.

    Here is an example. When I was a cub scout leader our boys made model rockets. We also taught them how to use trigonometry to calculate how high the rockets went. With calculators, it was easy for them to master something that many adults would assume only smart kids could do. In this way each boy was taught that they were smart.
  • by creimer (824291) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:57PM (#47737859) Homepage

    I was misdiagnosed as mentally retarded when I was kindergarten due to hearing lost in one ear that wasn't diagnosed until years later. I traveled around the county in little yellow school buses, and puking my guts out every morning from motion sickness, to attend special ed classes. For six years in a row, I blew out the evaluation exams on the genius side of the scale and told each time that it was statistical fluke.The school system made three times more money from mentally retarded students. From the first through eight grades, I was told I was an idiot.

    I didn't bother to go to high school. Spent four years at home teaching myself from a personal library of 400 books, reading newspapers and news magazines, and watching documentaries on public television. Learning what I wanted to learn with a wide-ranging curiosity.

    After working with my father in construction for a few years, I enrolled in the adult re-entry program at the local community college. With a fifth-grade math and writing skills, and a college-level reading comprehension, it took me four years to get my associate degree in general education. I had trouble getting level-entry jobs because I didn't have a high school diploma.

    A decade later I went back to the community college to earn an associate degree in computer programming. Uncle Sam picked up the tab with a $3,000 USD tax credit to change careers. That took five years going part-time while working 80 hours per week as a lead video game tester. I made the president's list for maintaining a 4.0 GPA in my major when I graduated.

    Some people still think I'm an idiot to this day.

  • by CaptainDork (3678879) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @03:36PM (#47738129)

    I'm very good with computers. I've been messing with them since 1978 and I was in on the digital revolution.

    It's also my career and it's been good for me. I give back by helping people with these TV typewriters.

    When people tell me how smart I am, I'm quick to ask them to please withdraw the remark. Beside creating a wedge between me and them, it is simply unwarranted.

    I ask them what they do. Of course, whatever it is, I can't do that. I'm an expert with computers. If I were on THEIR turf, I tell them, THEY would be the smart one.

    I'm not smarter than anyone else.

    For computers, I'm certainly most experienced than most.

  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @04:21PM (#47738387)

    This is just one more form of totally screwed up political correctness. Based on her logic you shouldn't say please or thank you either. Bogus.

    • by bussdriver (620565) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @05:53PM (#47738937)

      There is likely more to the conclusions than that.

      1) Humans are not logical. You can't take one solution and apply it to another similar aspect of humanity.

      2) Humans are chaotic fractals. Broad trends make them all nearly the same but some demographics may exist that do not nicely fit into expectations (psychology relies upon it;) aside from that, small details are as random as snowflakes (and still not likely without fractal like patterns on another level, which is why I used snowflakes as the metaphor.)

      Just because we can't comprehend how humans work doesn't mean there isn't a difficult non-linear equation and/or fractal description. Fractals are all over the randomness of nature and it doesn't seem unreasonable to assume they apply beyond certain physical traits. We can only study the problem and do the best we can; those of us without the time and resources will just have rely upon elite experts (aka scientists... before you bash the soft sciences, I suggest you look up the word science.)

      Disclaimer, I'm not in the soft sciences.

  • by Nyder (754090) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @09:05PM (#47739911) Journal

    From the time I was born, my parents lied to me. By the time I was 10, I realized that adults where full of shit when they talked to kids.

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