Alfie Kohn strikes again! The perils of “Growth Mindset”

It is so common to hear a teacher say to a student or class, especially at the elementary school level, “I like how you ____.” Fill in the blank.

  • I like how quietly you all came into the room.
  • I like how neatly you wrote in your essay.
  • I like how Shawna used so many colors in her painting.

Good grief! Drives me nuts. Yes, I know the teacher is trying to provide “positive reinforcement” and not trying to create praise junkies. Nonetheless, there needs to be a better reason for students to do things than to please the teacher, and there are better ways to promote positive behaviors, one of which is to point out the positive consequences.

  • Great, we all got quiet so fast that you’ll have more time to work on your projects.
  • Your neat handwriting makes this essay so easy to read.
  • Shawna, that is such a colorful painting!

Perhaps it’s my pet peeve about “I like, I like” that makes me applaud Alfie Kohn’s critique of the “growth mindset.” He may be too harsh on Carol Dweck (or he may not be), but I certainly agree with his premise. I recommend you at least read a couple paragraphs; you may find you can’t stop till the end!

via The perils of “Growth Mindset” education: Why we’re trying to fix our kids when we should be fixing the system –

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