Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This Explains A Lot

Last week's New York magazine had a fascinating cover story about the effects of praising children.

The gist is that if you praise kids for being smart, rather than for working hard, they don't do as well, and in fact give up more readily, while kids praised for working hard rise to challenges more resiliently. The effect is pronounced and visible immediately.

This explains an awful lot. It explains a large number of people I saw in college (way more years ago than I care to admit now), and a lot of people at the dot-com where I started working at the leading edge of the bubble. It also explains a lot about my wife's (high-school) students.

Of course, everyone always thinks the next generation is callow and stupid and whiny and all that. But still. This time we have data.


Aram said...

You so smaht.

W said...

Back when I was looking at colleges I spent a week at the USNA. An admissions officer stated that the Academy prefered "over achievers," candidates with higher grades and lower SAT/ACT scores, to "under achievers," candidates with lower grades and higher SAT/ACT scores. E.g. the kind of hard working, resourceful candidate who might allegedly drive from Houston to Orlando with the appropriate provisions to not make any unnecessry stops to use the head.