A few years ago I told a room full of teachers that i wanted them to ban the word ‘bright’ from their language and that I wanted them to work to discourage parents from using it wherever and whenever possible. There was stunned silence and they all looked at me as if I’d grown a second head. I certainly don’t think I managed to convince them.
For a start, culturally, in Indian schools as teachers became more ‘sensitive’, so they were encouraged to praise children and what could be simpler than telling them umpteen times a day why they’re so clever, so bright, so smart.
My conviction on this flowed out of a lot of reading and research i had been doing, but particularly my reading of the book and a number of articles by Carol Dweck of Stanford University on Mindset.
I wish that I had had more success then and over subsequent years in convincing both teachers and parents as I’ve become even more sure than i was then that this is a big deal, a big issue as we develop young learners who have the potential to excel in the future.
And now, here is Sal Khan of the Khan Academy saying the same thing – on this occasion talking about his own son (who sat unwell and asleep on his father’s lap when I met Sal in America a few years ago.
Here’s what Sal has to say about the learning myth: