At a recent BBQ, I met a 9 year-old boy who enjoyed programming Minecraft mods in Java but who purportedly got frustrated whenever trying to do math problems above his grade level. It seemed that this classic article might be applicable:
- NYMag 2007: How Not to Talk to Your Kids: The inverse power of praise.
- “I am smart, the kids’ reasoning goes; I don’t need to put out effort. Expending effort becomes stigmatized—it’s public proof that you can’t cut it on your natural gifts. “
The article draws heavily from Carol Dweck’s work on “Growth Mindset”. To hear from her first hand, check out this TED talk:
Of course, it goes beyond praise. Any kind of reward system for the kids should take this into account (money, one-on-one time, etc.).
If you have any success stories or counterexamples, feel free to comment!