School Curriculum Falls Short on Bigger Lessons
By Tara PARKER-POPE
Now that children are back in the classroom, are they really learning the lessons that will help them succeed?
Many child development experts worry that the answer may be no. They say the ever-growing emphasis on academic performance and test scores means many children aren’t developing life skills like self-control, motivation, focus and resilience, which are far better predictors of long-term success than high grades. And it may be distorting their and their parents’ values.
In one set of studies, children who solved math puzzles were praised for their intelligence or for their hard work. The first group actually did worse on subsequent tests, or took an easy way out, shunning difficult problems. The research suggests that praise for a good effort encourages harder work, while children who are consistently told they are smart do not know what to do when confronted with a difficult problem or reading assignment.
Academic achievement can certainly help children succeed, and for parents there can be a fine line between praising effort and praising performance. Words need to be chosen carefully: Instead of saying, “I’m so proud you got an ‘A’ on your test”, a better choice is “I’m so proud of you for studying so hard”. Both replies rightly celebrate the ‘A’, but the second focuses on the effort that produced it, encouraging the child to keep trying in the future.
Praise outside of academics matters, too. Instead of asking your child how many points she scored on the basketball court, say, “Tell me about the game. Did you have fun? Did you play hard?”. Parents also need to teach their children that they do not have to be good at everything, and there is something to be learned when a child struggles or gets a poor grade despite studying hard. One strategy is to teach children that the differences between easy and difficult subjects can provide useful information about their goals and interests. Subjects they enjoy and excel in may become the focus of their careers. Challenging but interesting classes or sports can become hobbies.
(Adapted from www.nyt.com)
Consider the following statements:
1. Parents should tell their children they do not have to be good at everything.
2. Parents should try to praise their children in their everyday life.
3. Being successful at school is more important than outside of academic matters.
4. Students with a higher performance at school are encouraged to win games.
5. Parents should help their kids see the difference between easy and difficult subjects.
6. Easy subjects may become the focus of someone’s career.
Which of the statements above are TRUE, according to the text?