Beware! Saying "You're So Smart!" to Children Can Make Them Worse at Math

New research from the University of Georgia has revealed that parents need to be careful with their words when discussing mathematics with their children as the wrong approach can have unwanted effects on kids' personality.

Many parents want their children to be arithmetic whizzes, but a recent study from the University of Georgia reveals that it could be a good idea to avoid using specific words when speaking to children about Maths. A child's motivation for and success in Maths could be disrupted by a poor method, which could ultimately backfire.

The researchers advise against using generalizations like "excellent job" or "you did it!" and instead urge parents to give precise praise on how well a task was completed. This, it is claimed, motivates kids to put more emphasis on techniques than outcomes and helps them see areas where they need to develop.

According to Michael Barger, an assistant professor in the educational psychology department at the Mary Frances Early College of Education, while person-focused praise may first seem to be beneficial, it may backfire by leading students to doubt their abilities if they encounter difficulties.

The study claims that such language is widespread, especially among younger children, and that it contributes to set mind beliefs that some individuals are brilliant at arithmetic while others are not.

To ascertain whether there was a connection between parental responses and their children's impressions of arithmetic, researchers conducted an extensive poll of more than 500 parents. The results showed that parents' perceptions regarding whether mathematical aptitude is changeable have a considerable influence on how they interact with their kids.

When providing process-focused criticism (such as assisting them in achieving goals), as opposed to comments, which are person-based (which may focus on affirming identity). Those who had high expectations for themselves in particular exhibited both styles at once!

Research suggests that to increase maths achievement, it may not be sufficient to emphasize tactics and effort in response to student performance. Conveying messages that emphasize character attributes about failure might backfire.
It can cause youngsters to purposefully avoid difficult issues, which raises Maths anxiety and lowers test scores. The messaging may not be authentic, according to Professor Barger, or this feedback may not have much of an impact since they are already too familiar.

The authors of this study recommend a passion for arithmetic that emphasizes enjoyment and strategy rather than skills rather than advising parents to refrain from categorizing their kids as "math people" or not.

An aspiring mathematician requires both encouragement and specific instruction, therefore it's crucial to clarify how performance can be improved with appropriate direction and practice instead of just discouraging these remarks about a child's talent in mathematics.

So while it may seem like an easy way out to tell your child “you’re so smart!” when it comes to math performance, parents should take note of this research and opt for more meaningful encouragement instead.

So next time you're helping your child with their math homework, take care to emphasize hard work over natural ability - this small change could make all the difference in your child's academic success!

Study shows parents' choice of words discussing math affects kids' personality; caution urged for positive impact.
Photo: BrowneNnorth / AI-gen

Read next: Innovation Cycles Are Getting Shorter, Here’s How Each Wave Compares
Previous Post Next Post