Students I speak to have a powerful fear of making a life-altering mistake in their teens. Whether it’s a low grade, an easy class, or the wrong extracurricular, students think that an early error will derail their entire lives. They see life as a straight line.
All AboutBeing “Smart”
The word “smart” gets tossed around a lot at school. Students can definitely point out the “smart kids” in their class. But what does “smart” mean to students? Let’s be careful with this praise, as it can have connotations that we don’t intend.
A great strip from Calvin and Hobbes for opening up a discussion about hard work, being “smart,” and mindsets in the classroom.
It’s a weird trap: because a child is “so smart”, everyone thinks any gaps in their skills are a result of laziness or defiance. But sometimes the brightest kid needs small group instruction for a skill the rest of the class already gets.
We praise kids for being “smart”, but what do we actually mean by it? What are we actually praising? It’s a surprisingly tricky word to figure out.
The “smart” label we give kids often really means “things are easy for you.” What are the ramifications of this dangerous praise?
What happens when a student never gets called over to work with the teacher?
The Dunning-Kruger Effect states that those with low-ability in an area tend to over-estimate their skills, while those with high-ability tend to under-estimate their skill. This has serious implications on classrooms and the way we communicate proficiency.