Home > Uncategorized > If We Can Conquer the FRESHMAN Fear of Failure, Why Not Conquer the KINDERGARTEN Fear of Failure

If We Can Conquer the FRESHMAN Fear of Failure, Why Not Conquer the KINDERGARTEN Fear of Failure

David Kirp’s Fixes column in today’s NYTimes describes an intervention used at a college that halved the failure rate of Freshman “students from disadvantaged backgrounds”. As part of their orientation to college, these incoming students were asked to either read “…upperclassmen’s accounts of how they navigated the shoals of university life” or “…were introduced to research online showing that intelligence isn’t a static trait or the luck of the genetic draw, but can grow through hard work.”  My reaction: if this works for college freshmen who have been subjected to years of schooling, imagine how influential this might be for Kindergarten students whose parents struggled in school, parents who were repeatedly given the message that they were failures, and parents who unwittingly transferred that message to their children. And if these messages can’t be absorbed by Kindergartener’s through reading or self-directed study, maybe successful “graduates” from their elementary school could visit class and explain “…how they navigated the shoals of elementary school life” or a visit from a respected community member who would explain that “… intelligence isn’t a static trait or the luck of the genetic draw, but can grow through hard work.”  And maybe the teachers and administrators in the school would learn something from the show-and-tell activities like this as well.

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