This week, we will discuss Carol Dweck’s (2007) The Perils and Promises of Praise. In 2-3 paragraphs, share your thoughts about what the big idea is, and why it is important. How might this idea impact how you think about the design of a learning technology?
The big idea of the article is that praise should not be given simply for the sake of praise – it should be more towards constructive criticism rather than simply ‘giving a star’ and saying that the person ‘is’ good/great/intelligent.
Praising a kid for being smart seems to introduce the notion that ability alone leads to performance, and that actually putting in effort or being perseverant has no affect on your status quo. Praising the work a kid put into the homework for example, leads them to value their attempts instead of reinforcing the notion that they are stuck at a certain performance level.
I related this piece with laziness, lethargy and a ‘why bother’ attitude that infects our human nature. If you’re not ‘number one’ why should one even try to get closer if they will only get praise once they get there? To know that you will get no praise or positive reinforcement along the way it truly unsettling, especially if ‘getting there’ seems unachievable at first.
It’s meritocracy in place of ‘judgment day’.
It’s valuing the process and not only the final result.
This is a fundamental concept that if applied correctly, has shown significant immediate results and hopefully provides long-lasting, life changing results.
LX Designers should incorporate this intrinsically in their process and remember that this probably works not only with kids, but of human beings in general, of any age, culture or social status. It talks to our inner most motivation (or lack of) to become a better person, to learn more and to progress in life.
It dispels the notion that your condition is immutable and that you have control over your mind, and therefore your life. It is possible to go from a fixed to a growth mindset.