Tag Archives: Social psychology

Simple idea – why so hard to enact?

Based on not insubstantial research, Professor Carol Dweck‘s ‘big idea’ can perhaps simplistically be summed up as follows: if you think learning is about developing the mental tools to do so more effectively and efficiently, you’ll be better at learning. If you think it’s about not looking dumb then as soon as your ‘natural’ ability to learn peaks and you start to look dumb, you’ll be less effective and efficient as a learner – because you’ll want to avoid situations that may show you up.

In her 2000 text, Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality, and Development (Essays in Social Psychology), Dweck outlines the findings from decades of research. And that research boils down to this: if, as educators, we encourage students by the right kind of praise to see challenges in a positive light rather than as a personal crisis, they will be better lifelong learners, with esteem based on their skills as learners rather than on some supposedly innate potential to know ‘stuff’.