BRIGHTEST GIRLS PIN TOO MUCH ON SUCCESS
Bright girls whose self-image depends on success and praise are not well equipped for life, says a British education specialist. Professor Guy Claxton told a teachers' conference that girls are always hearing they are smarter than boys, but this makes many of the brighter ones "brittle", afraid to try anything new in case they fail, and unable to cope with failure when it comes. The problem is aggravated by parents who regard praise as essential to a child's self-esteem and who may be tempted, if they are working full-time, to pile on the praise to make up for not spending enough time with their children.
Professor Claxton said research was showing that telling children they are smart may be doing them a disservice; the need to maintain this image becomes a prime concern. This is true of both boys and girls, but it hits girls the hardest, he added. The solution was ensure that praise is specific and relates to the effort the student has put into their work. A girls' school principal agreed: "We have to teach all young people how to lose and how to fail, not just how to succeed. The best girls' school are doing this."
Source: Family Edge (March 13 issue), the weekly newsletter of MercatorNet