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The Secrets to Raising Smart Kids by Carol S. Dweck: Article Analysis

By felixthecat999 Mar 26, 2011 812 Words
Psychology 100

Article Review 1


Myers, D.G. (2010) Psychology (9th ed.)New York: Worth.

Myers, (2007- 2008) Scientific American Psychology Reader. New York: Worth.


The article titled “The Secrets to Raising Smart Kids”, by Carol S. Dweck has many key concepts and interesting points. Most of the people presume that outstanding and superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. More than three decades of research indicates that exaggeration on talent or intellect, and the idea that such traits are inborn, leaves people susceptible to failure, and uninterested to learn. (Scientific America: Psychology Reader, 2008, pg 69) According to a survey conducted by the author Carl S. Dweck in the mid-1990s, “85 percent of parents believed that praising children’s ability or intelligence when they perform well is important for making them feel smart. However, the author’s work shows that praising a child’s intelligence makes a child fragile and defensive.” (Scientific America: Psychology Reader, 2008, pg 72) In a study published in 2007, the author and the two psychologists Lisa Blackwell and Kali H. Trzesniewski monitored 337 students for two years during the transition from junior to senior to determine how their mind- sets might affect their math grades. As what the researchers predicted, “the students with a growth mind -set felt that learning was a more important goal in school than getting good grades. The students who held a fixed mind -set were concerned about looking smart with little regard for learning.” (Scientific America: Psychology Reader, 2008, pg 72) The author suggests that if we encourage a growth mind-set in our schools and homes, we will give our children the support to succeed in their goals and to become a responsible workers and citizens. Teaching people to have growth mind-set, which encourages a focus on effort rather than on intelligence, produces high achievers in school and in life.

Myers Discussion

Chapter 10 of the textbook posted some questions about intelligence: Does each of us have an inborn general mental intelligence, and can we quantify this intelligence as a meaningful number? To what extent does it result from heredity rather than environment? According to David Myers, intelligence is a mental quality consisting of the ability to learn from experience, solve problems, and use knowledge to adapt to new situations. (Myers, 2010, pg 406) Since the mid-1980’s, some psychologists have sought to extend the definition of intelligence beyond Spearman’s and Thurstone’s academic smarts. “Howard Garner views intelligence as multiple abilities that come in packages”. (Myers, 2010, pg 407) Robert Sternberg agrees that there is more to success than traditional intelligence, and he agrees with Gardner’s idea of multiple intelligences. “However, he proposes a triarchic theory of three, not eight. They are analytical intelligence, creative intelligence, and practical intelligence”. (Myers, 2010, pg 411) The author David Myers discussed that intelligence test scores maybe misinterpreted as literal measures of a person’s worth and potential. He argued that we must remember the competence that general intelligence tests sample is important, but it only reflects one aspect of personal competence. Our practical and emotional intelligence are important too, as do the other forms of creativity, talent and character. Genetic and environmental influences shaped our intelligence, and thus there are many ways of being successful, our differences are variations of human adaptability. (Myers, 2010, pg 439)

Relevance in My Life
This article has a great relevance in my life. I took an advance math class last year on site, and I thought I will have a hard time with the subject. However, I realized my mind-set affected my math grade. I belong to a student with a growth mind-set. I believed that learning is more important in school than getting good grades. I was praised by my professor for my effort in asking questions after class, and I did not lose confidence when faced with the harder questions. I was not surprised that I got an A better than my classmates who have fixed mind-set. After all, I believe that I can expand my intellectual skills. According to David Myers, “challenges are energizing rather than intimidating. They offer opportunities to learn. Students with such a growth mind-set were destined for greater academic success and were quite likely to outperform their counterparts”. (Myers, 2010, pg 73) I am glad that I took this psychology class because I am learning a lot from this subject. I am planning to transmit a growth mind-set to my four-year old daughter by telling stories about achievements that result from hard work. I could also help my child provide explicit instruction regarding the mind as a learning machine. In this way, she will learn that intelligence can cover a wide area of things, and thus it can be earned, just like respect.

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