Many of us were raised to believe that a person is either born smart, or not...but we have learned a lot about the brain in recent years, and some of those old beliefs are changing.
If you remember your school years, probably you were in a class where, when the teacher asked a question, the “smart” kids raised their hands and everyone else waited.
But researchers have discovered (as we probably all knew back then!) that those “smart” kids would never raise their hands if they weren’t sure of the answer...and the reason is that if “smart” is how you define yourself, and you’re not really sure why or how you got “smart,” you are unlikely to risk making a mistake or doing something wrong—because then you won’t be “smart” any more!
What we now know is that the brain has an incredible capacity for learning—and the way we learn best is by making mistakes, thinking them through and trying again. None of us know everything, so in order to be learners we must be willing to risk the wrong answer and keep working until we get it right. Intelligence is not something that is fixed in place. The way that we get “smart” - and continue to get smarter! - is through hard work and perseverance.
Every day at Levy we are going to be asking your children to do things that are new and challenging for them—and we are going to encourage them to take risks, think things through, solve problems, and persevere when it is difficult. Success in school, and in life, hinges on those abilities—that is what “smart” is really all about! It’s great to get the right answer, and we do expect children to meet specific benchmarks and acquire certain skills, but the journey is far more valuable to learning than the destination.
You are going to see this mindset shift reflected in the teaching and learning at Levy school, and we hope that you will support us at home by praising your children for their hard work and perseverance. Together we are going to be amazed by how truly “smart” all our children are!
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