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« Cranky Middle Manager on Middle Manager Crankiness | Main | Listening versus Talking »

November 04, 2005


The grit article does seem to be on the right track, but I was disappointed by this conclusion:

"The data demonstrate the need for parents and teachers to praise effort rather than ability. But it also explains why so many prodigies fail to flourish as adults: The adoration showered upon them in childhood rests on their remarkable abilities rather than on their hard work."

What about adoration showered on our children unconditionally? I contend that this research demonstrates yet another problem with praise itself, not that some parents praise the wrong thing.

To find out more about the insidious effects of praise and other attempts to extrinsically motivate, I highly recommend Alfie Kohn's Punished by Rewards: The Trouble With Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes. (It's a bit of a long read, but you can just read the third on management and skip the parts on parenting and teaching--it's all about the same thing.) Or check out articles on

Amanda - Good point. I would second the recommendation of Kohn's books. A must read for all parents and educators, or anyone interested in excellence. This is one of those "king with no clothes" issues. All the research tells us one thing, but schools and business is still operate based on the same old, ineffective assumptions.

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