Todd: Talking about kids and school, what do you think about failure? Like it seems like we're moving to where we're not allowed to tell kids that they're not doing well, that everybody has to be a winner. You know, everybody gets a good grade. What do you think about that especially as a teacher and a parent?
Julia: As a teacher, I think, I read something recently that the chastising a student, telling them they did bad, has no motivational value whatsoever but praise does. So definitely I think it's important to always praise. If you have a really bad student and you can't find anything to praise them on then I don't know what the answer is really. But I'm sure you can always find something to praise someone on.
Julia: So I think it's important to focus on the positives all the time.
Todd: See actually I kind of disagree.
Julia: Do you?
Todd: Yeah. I think that, you know, that your score is or your progress is absolute. Like either you pass or you fail, either you get high marks or low marks but that's the motivation. Like if you get, if you don't do well, then you want to try harder. You know, like if you're a fat kid and you don't want to be fat then you, you know, you're motivated to lose weight or if you aren't a star in the baseball team you need to practice harder so you move up. But if you tell kids that they're doing great when actually they're not exceptional then maybe that actually does harm.
Julia: OK, well maybe I misexplained that. I don't mean give a false, I don't mean say they're doing well when they're not doing well but what I mean is focus more on the successes than the failures.
Todd: Oh, I see. Like confidence building?
Julia: Yeah, I guess that's what I mean more. But I guess we're talking about motivation rather than an end result like, of course, yeah, you're going to fail some things. I don't know. I never failed that many things at school and later on in life when I did encounter failure, I took it pretty bad so perhaps it would have been healthier for me to have failed a few things. I don't know.
Todd: Well that's the question, isn't it? Like when you fail or you do bad I think that maybe that's the eye-opening moment you need to see. Like you need to see the truth rather than just tell somebody that they're doing well when actually maybe they're not or that they're exceptional and talented when maybe they're not.
Julia: When they're not, that's true. Yeah, there was another thing that I read as well about telling, praising children for their intellgence, you should never, you should never tell a child they're smart because they get a false image of what intelligence is. You should always praise effort.
Todd: Ah, right.
Julia: As opposed to some sort of innate, what we believe to be an innate quality that you can never have if you don't have it. So telling a child yeah you're really smart, when the child faces a problem that requires them to apply themselves and maybe fail they're afraid.
Julia: Because then they may think no I'm not intelligent after all. So it should always be about praising effort and actually the result is not so important.