Helping children push past a plateau

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Helping children push past a plateau

Often a child who is really good at something – schoolwork or an instrument or a sport – suddenly stops enjoying it, stops doing it or stops progressing at it. It’s often mysterious why this happens. But sometimes, it’s clear why this happens. Often a student who does really well at something is praised for that, is told how talented and brilliant they are. But then, suddenly, when they get to a patch where it’s hard or other people are suddenly catching up to them, they worry. “Maybe I’m not as good as I thought I was.” “Maybe I’m going to make a fool out of myself.” “I better quit while I’m ahead.” So they’ll stop working in school. They’ll stop wanting to do the instrument. They’ll stop practicing athletics. Instead, if you appreciate the passion they have for something or the work they put into it or you reassure them that everyone hits a plateau and that effort is what all the successful people put in to be successful, they may just start up again and start progressing.

See Carol Dweck, PhD's video on Helping children push past a plateau...


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Carol Dweck, PhD

Psychologist & Author

Carol S. Dweck, PhD, is a leading researcher in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford. Her research focuses on why students succeed and how to foster their success. More specifically, her work has demonstrated the role of mindsets in success and has shown how praise for intelligence can undermine students’ motivation and learning.

She has also held professorships at and Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured to education, business, and sports groups all over the world, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Sciences. She recently won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the highest award in Psychology. 

Her work has been prominently featured in such publications as The New Yorker, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, and The London Times, with recent feature stories on her work in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post, and she has appeared on such shows as Today, Good Morning America, NPR’s Morning Edition, and 20/20. Her bestselling book Mindset (published by Random House) has been widely acclaimed and has been translated into 20 languages.

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