We just finished the end of the 1 st quarter (October 8 th )
Your child does not receive a formal assessment at this time
However, Parent-Teacher Conferences are on Oct. 18 th and 19 th
The opportunity to discuss “grades” with your child is definitely here (if you haven’t already done so).
Do I need to discuss grades with my child?
How should I begin the discussion?
What should I say about that “F”?
How should I complement him/her?
Is “Good Job!” saying enough?
There are two different report cards at your table (and on the screen in a moment)
Take a look at the report cards and reflect on how you might discuss grades with these students if they were your children
Discuss with you’re group your ideas and thoughts. Encourage participation from all members of your group
How do you feel about discussing grades with your child(ren)
How would you approach these students if either of them were your child?
How would you feel/act?
What would you say?
What wouldn’t you say?
Share your thoughts/ideas
Many parents love to praise their children
According to a study by Columbia University, 85% of American parents think it is important to tell their child they are smart.
“ What a clever girl!” “Good job!” “You’re so smart” becomes almost habitual for some
The presumption is that if a child believes he/she is smart (having been told repeatedly), he won’t be intimidated by new academic challenges
However, a growing body of research and a new study from the New York City public school system strongly suggests it might be the other way around.
Giving the kids the label of “smart” does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it
Professor and social psychologist at Stanford University
Has studied the effect of praise on students for 10 years
In particular…her research with 5 th graders
Easy Test given– a single line of praise – either praised for intelligence or effort
Then given a choice (a more difficult test or a test like the first one)
Can you predict what they found out?
Of those praised for intelligence , a majority chose the easy test
Of those praised for effort , 90% chose the more difficult test
Dweck’s summary – “When we praise children for intelligence, we tell them that this is the name of the game: look smart, don’t risk making mistakes.”
A subsequent round of this study none of the 5 th graders had a choice.
Everyone was given a very difficult test designed for students 2 years ahead of the group….Everybody failed
But how did the two groups of students react to the failure?
Those praised for intelligence assumed their failure was evidence that they weren’t really smart at all. There was noticeable strain and discomfort taking the test.
Those praised for effort felt they simply hadn’t focused hard enough on the test. However they were engaged and enjoyed the challenge of the questions.
Finally, the students were given another test designed to be as easy as the first round.
Those praised for effort significantly improved on their original score (by about 30%)
Those praised for intelligence actually did worse overall from their original score (by about 20%
“ Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable they can control. They come to see themselves as in control of their success. “
“ Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control , and provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.”
Scholars from these two schools review over 150 praise studies
In their analysis they determined that overly praised students become risk adverse and lack perceived autonomy
They found consistent correlations between a liberal use of praise and students’ “shorter task persistence, more eye checking with their teacher and inflected speech such that answers to questions have the intonation of questions
It has been found that when they go to college, heavily praised students commonly drop out of classes rather than suffer a mediocre grade, and they have a hard time picking major – they’re afraid to commit to something because they’re afraid of not succeeding.
By and large, the literature on praise shows that it can be effective – a positive motivating force
In one study, University of Notre Dame researchers tested praise efficacy on a losing college hockey team.
The effect of praise worked and the key to it working was the specificity of the comments used.
Players were complemented on designated actions they accomplished on the ice
According to Dweck, the biggest mistake parents make is assuming their children aren’t sophisticated enough to see and feel our true intentions when it comes to an offering of praise
Psychologist Meyer found that teens discount praise (meritless praise) to such an extent in the classroom at least that they believe it is a teacher’s criticism-not praise at all- that really conveys a positive belief in a student’s aptitude
Dr. Florrie Ng studied students in Illinois and Hong Kong
Students were randomly given a very difficult test – inducing a sense of failure
Moms were told halfway through the test that their son/daughter had performed below average
Moms allow to speak with their child for 5 minutes before the 2 nd half of the test
Their interactions were recorded
Illinois moms carefully avoided making any comments remotely negative…in fact, most moms avoided talking about the test all together
Hong Kong moms spent the majority of the time discussing the test and its importance
Both groups of moms expressed their love equally in terms smiles, hugs etc.
Both sets of students eventually went back to write the remainder of the test
Hong Kong students scores improved 33%, more than twice that of the Americans
Brushing aside failure, and just focusing on the positive isn’t the norm all over the world.
One basic need all children have is to be loved unconditionally (they will still be accepted if they “screw up”)
Praise/Rewards or Punishment is a short term answer to a more complicated issue (dangling the carrot)
Replace praise/rewards/punishment with the unconditional support that all children need to grow into healthy, caring responsible people
Kohn has cited a body of research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn a parent’s approval
Try to focus more on the effort put in from your child and the process than the actual grade (or product)
Be careful as to the degree of the praise you use and monitor the sincerity behind that praise
Be as specific as you can in terms of praise when you speak with your child
Try to avoid the habitual and unfocused compliments like “Good Job!”
Don’t ignore the “bad” stuff…look to help guide your child towards better strategies to learn and improve
Do you best to provide an environment where your unconditional love is clearly understood by your son/daughter
Any grade is only a snapshot of a student’s performance at one particular point in time
Grades tell only one story (grades early in the semester/number of assignments/weighting of an assignment) – don’t hover!
Focus on the positives (encourage them to seek guidance on how to improve)
Ask for their opinion on their classes and …sincerely value what they say
Express your confidence in them to improve their academic situation
Not one person at Harvard is perfect
There are more great colleges and universities than just the top 25 in the rankings. This gets overlooked in Asia because there are typically only a few “great” universities in Asian countries
Hard Work = Success…period.
What should I ask my child’s teacher?
What are my child’s strengths/areas to improve on in your class?
What can my child do to help themselves in class?
Do they work well with others?
Are they motivated and actively participate in your class?
Does my child look like they get enough sleep in your class?
Do they ever attend tutorials for your subject?
Could my child potentially take this subject at the IB level?