Every Child Can Be Smart
While helping my oldest daughter with her math homework one afternoon, we came across a concept that she was having difficulty grasping: Decimals. “You can do this. You are smart,” I said to her in a stern yet reassuring tone. “I am not smart. I mean, I am smart in some things, but not this,” she mumbled.
Initially, I thought that she was just being lazy, but then I realized that it was her idea of intelligence that was causing her to feel a deep sense of inadequacy. In her mind, being bright meant the ability to comprehend unfamiliar concepts with relatively little effort. If she did not understand a particular subject matter at first glance, then she felt that was as a sign of unintelligence.
I suspect that my daughter’s assumptions are not uncommon.
Considering that a child’s school work becomes increasingly more complicated as they advance in grade level, one could easily imagine how associating effort with unintelligence can be a problem.
Being smart should be defined as a willingness to do the work needed to make sense of new concepts.
Also, it should be viewed as a quality that is available to everyone. Altogether, I am convinced that is a far more beneficial way of thinking for school-aged children.