Perceptions of Effort and Intelligence Affect Student Learning


A writer and editor, Willy Wood serves as President of Educational Solutions International in Columbia, MO. Educational Solutions annually coordinates two conferences for teachers–the Write to Learn Conference and the Missouri Early Learning Conference. Willy Wood is also the President of Open Mind Technologies, Inc., where he serves as an educational consultant, presenting workshops and training seminars on topics concerning effective teaching strategies.

Effective teaching strategies are often connected to their psychological underpinnings, and successful teachers make it a point to understand not just what but also how their students learn. A recent report by the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education looks at psychological approaches to student learning.

According to the report, student beliefs about learning and intelligence actually play a role in their cognitive functions. Students who believe that learning depends more on hard work and effort than intelligence consistently perform better in the classroom. To encourage this mindset, the report suggests teachers should reward students for increased effort in the classroom and be sparing with praise for easily accomplished tasks or goals. Additionally, teachers should be wary of overly praising student intelligence, which might demoralize students who don’t believe they have the same innate intelligence of their classmates.