If you're a parent of young children you'll want to read the attached article/research from Scientific American. If you're like me you've probably encountered that "I can't do it" attitude when doing homework or studying for a test. You've probably wondered how or why your child views education through this negative lens. Well, according to the research, we might have just handed them this lens and they're responding accordingly.
Next time your child says he/she is not smart, or complains about someone else in class who is smarter, try explaining how hard you had to work at getting where you are, and how other celebrated intellects in the past had to work hard to get to their levels of competence and success.
Our minds are simply like our muscles. Eliminate exercise and they shrink. When kids don't get acknowledged for the effort they exerted to accomplish a task, but are merely recognized by a single grade at the end (the result), they're discouraged to try, and the results spiral down as well. Their mind isn't expanded or exercised and the habits that come with that failure can hold back their success.
From now on I'm sticking to encouraging the effort and acknowledging the little success along the way to bigger and brighter minds. The grades will simply confirm what I already know.