Can you foster a growth mindset?

by Honolulu Mother

This Pacific Standard article discusses research suggesting it’s best to encourage kids to think of intelligence as something that can be developed rather than an inherent ability that you have or don’t: How to Get Kids Into a Growth Mindset. I assume the same thinking would apply for other abilities, such as athletic talent, artistic or musical ability, or people skills.

Do you agree with this approach? Is it something you try to foster with your own kids?


91 thoughts on “Can you foster a growth mindset?

  1. My kids’ schools are really into the whole idea of the growth mindset. I can see the applicability to myself in that I decided in second grade that I was bad at (and hated) math. For the rest of my long academic career, I avoided math classes and didn’t really push myself to learn it. Unfortunately, my parents and teachers let me get away with this and didn’t push me to learn the fundamental math concepts. As a result, I effectively foreclosed a number of areas and topics that I might have been interested in pursuing. I don’t think I would have been able to do this if I had decided I had no ability to learn history. In retirement, I plan to learn math through Khan Academy, probably beginning at 4th grade level.

    For my kids, I try to remember to focus on the effort rather than the result. I also want them understand that learning things can be hard and that is ok and that you can feel real gratification when you put in the time to do a stretch project or master a sticky concept. Of course, this is thwarted by the everyone gets a medal approach. MS has been great for my older kid as her IB curriculum focuses on a lot of project-based learning which has bolstered her curiosity and distracted her from just focusing on getting the best grade. We’ll see how it works for the younger one when she starts MS in August!

  2. Great cartoon Rocky. We’ve had that conversation with our kids many, many times.

    DH and I are both in jobs where failure is prevalent, accepted, and hopefully managed. We tell this to our kids, citing specific examples of both academic and professional failure from our lives. We also praise effort v. results, which gets easier as the kids grow and courses get more challenging.

  3. I was intrigued by the suggestion that it is parents’ attitudes about failure that makes more difference than their attitude about intelligence. If a parent believes failure can be an opportunity, than their children are more likely to be able to overcome failures and not be defeated by them. But the “everyone gets a medal” attitude does thwart this mindset. Many of us are fearful to let our kids to fail in any way.

  4. Attitude towards failure is critical to success in computer science. A student learning to program spends much of his or her time in failure mode: the program won’t run! It takes a cool head sometimes to not panic after the 400th crash. You have to stay calm and focus on the detective aspect of programming. And of course pros, at least the good ones, spend a lot of time trying to make their programs fail. I always tell my students – you want to find the bugs now rather than have the end users find them in production, at 3am.

  5. RMS – LOL.

    I see this developing with our #1 child, where she thinks she’s not good at something if she has to work at it. I do try to foster a try-hard-and-learn mindset, but it is hard for me when I am trying to help her with her homework and she yells at me or doesn’t listen. :-P

  6. About 20 years ago I heard a speaker talk about this in a different way, but same idea. In a study done back then, two groups of students were taught material to prepare them for a “really hard” test. One group was told they were going to succeed because they were smart; the other group was told success was linked to their ability to learn. At the end, the group that was told their golden ticket was the ability to learn did slightly better on the test. But, more telling was they were asked if they would be willing to take a harder test yet. Of the group that was told the were smart, a very small portion of the group was willing. Of the learners, almost all of them were willing. When asked why, the learners assumed they could learn anything – given time and instruction – but the smart ones were afraid that at some point their level of smart would be exceeded.

    The speaker “lesson” was to praise the abiltity to learn vs. intelligence. And then to apply this idea throughout the things you praised you kid for. Praising something you cannot change doesn’t give you the opportunity to grow and get better at something. I took this to heart with my then toddlers. I think it was positive.

  7. The attached cartoon could be about my kid. She can be so lazy when it comes to pushing herself to do more in school, sports or even dance. She likes to do enough to be very good, but not great. If the activity happens to involve an electronic device or something you can swipe, then she’s a super star.

    Our school uses IXL to supplement and differentiate math homework. I don’t track it, and the teachers see the progress. I had no idea that she moved ahead multiple levels until she came home with a paper award. It was a physical certificate and included a letter from teacher, prin etc. She is so far ahead that she was asked to join the honors math class. I don’t think this would have happened if this wasn’t a computer program with rewards. I think she sat there for hours because it reminds her of other real games and apps.

  8. Hmm, from the title I guess I was expecting more of a “how to” than a “why it matters.” I’m already sold on the “why” — product of the “innate intelligence” philosophy — and would appreciate any tips on the “how.” We do the standard — focus on the effort/persistence, telling the kids variants of “you’re as smart as you work hard,” etc.

    It is hard to fight my own raising, even though I know that line of thought has been largely discredited; I do tend to have that little internal panic when my kids struggle, as if it’s some kind of sign that they’re doomed for life, even though objectively I know that’s a load of crap. So it’s more retraining my own reactions than anything else — keep my own stuff inside and figure out how to respond to them constructively.

    I think the real power is in believing you have agency over your own life — i.e., you get what you give. I didn’t feel that for a long time — blamed everything, good and bad, on luck (after all, it’s not like I chose my genes). DS gets it intuitively, DD is more like me, so it’s been a struggle with her.

  9. I recently read an article about athletic training. It purported to show that the maximum improvement one could achieve from intensive practice in competitive sports was 18% (I guess over baseline proficiency). For the study about the really hard test, the agenda of the researchers is to show not so much how praising effort can improve performance (perhaps at a lower percentage than 18%), but to show how praising effort can establish sticktoitiveness and likely create a more successful adult. The agenda of the researchers in the athletic study was not to show that anyone can get better and have more fun if they acquire more skills or fitness, but how you can’t make a silk purse (true champion athlete at some targeted level) out of a sow’s ear (klutz or even ordinary kid).

    There is a fine line between providing enrichment and training to help a child gain a sense of accomplishment as well as acquire needed skills, and failing to see that no matter how many years a child (ahem!) attends ballet school (till the age of 12), she will never graduate out of beginner 2 with the 8 year olds (no toe shoes), and that misery is compounded each year. Substitute baseball clinics or Kumon classes for another child. Trophies for all is probably worse for anyone over the age of 6.

  10. “She can be so lazy when it comes to pushing herself to do more in school, sports or even dance. She likes to do enough to be very good, but not great.”

    I can empathize.

  11. At the age of my kids, the emphasis is on hard work and the effort. But at some point, I want my kids to figure out where they have natural talents and know what to focus on and where they can/should phone it in. This seems to be something that many people have difficulty doing. I am not really sure how to teach it without being explicit.

  12. She likes to do enough to be very good, but not great.

    What’s wrong with that? It seems very sensible to me.

  13. LfB — it seems like what we’re seeing suggested is not so much a set program as it is having an attitude that’ll show itself to your kids in lots of little ways, from “That A was well-deserved, you worked hard on that project” to “OK, so you did poorly / didn’t get into the thing. It happened, things happen, but what’s important is that you can learn from it. Think about what went wrong / what held you back, and then think about how you can do better next time, and that’s how you learn” to “That girl did an amazing job at the academic / sporting / musical event. She must have worked really hard to get that good!” All in place of “An A, wow, you’re good at this!” “Maybe this subject just isn’t for you” “That girl is just a genius / natural!”

    But it’s certainly also true that we want our kids to not be delusional about their ability to eventually shine at something they don’t have the inherent talent for. Most anyone can learn to swim; very few can be competitive swimmers at the national level.

  14. I have a Q for everyone. If you were going to make dinner for a family who is gluten- and dairy-free along with one vegetarian, what would you make? The only thing I can come up with is stuffed peppers and I don’t really like them.

  15. A lot of people only figure out in adulthood where they want to put in the effort, even if just for personal pleasure and limited local acclaim. So IMO, the most important long term lesson is as LfB said, you have agency – but not just in applying effort, but in choosing when to apply it. If your effort is only valued for parental objectives that lesson may not be learned. From my family – my son the actor. And previously non athletic DD in this photo – I hope it posts – (she is the one whose face you can’t see – note that the other performer is pregnant!)

  16. “If you were going to make dinner for a family who is gluten- and dairy-free along with one vegetarian, what would you make?”

    lol. No. No thank you.

  17. The research behind the “growth-mindset” stuff is pretty interesting. However, our district is using it to dismantle tracking and gifted programming – all kids need to do is believe in themselves! There are echos of the self-esteem movement from the 80s.

    From the district: “…our commitment to the concept of growth mindset – the researched-validated principle that we can teach students that their success in school is not stagnantly based on their past but, with grit and perseverance (and a supportive, intentional school environment) all of our students can and will grow. We have looked at testing, classroom performance and discipline data and found that the array of skills, behaviors and challenges in both of these “tracks” are similar.”


  18. When you do gluten free, think rice or potato-based meals.

    Rice and Beans, Baked Potato Bar, Hashbrown casserole, Fried Rice

  19. Kate – do rice bowls with veggies, tofu on top with the veggie person, and then some kind of meat for the non-veggies.

    Also, not soy sauce-based unless you get the wheat-free kind.

  20. Kate – I didn’t know my inlaws were coming to your house. Stuffed peppers with a ground beef/lamb mixture are a good choice with rice or quinoa and a spicy tomato sauce. You can make them with red, yellow or orange pepper if you don’t like the harsh taste of green peppers. The colored peppers don’t have to be blanched prior to stuffing, a nice bonus. For the veg person just put in a second baking pan and stuff a couple of halves in different colors with the grain plus some sauteed onion/scallion and chopped dark mushroom.

    Another option for all is spaghetti squash with a nice tomato mushroom sauce and a side salad.

  21. Kate,
    Potato gnocchi with a salad; cold rice noodle salad; grilled summer veggies with wild rice; gazpacho;

  22. I love the idea of a baked potato bar. Also, you can do a pasta bar with a marinara sauce, one gluten free pasta, one regular pasta, meat balls, roasted veggies and cheese on the side. You can buy pre-made meatballs and already roasted veggies (Central Market, Whole Foods) to make this less work.

  23. Rhett – I once accidentally sampled some dairy-free cheese at WF. It was so terrible. I actually spit it out. Omg. The memory.

  24. But, if you can’t eat sour cream, butter or cheese what are you going to put on your potato?


  25. But, if you can’t eat sour cream, butter or cheese what are you going to put on your potato?


  26. Tell ’em to bring their own damn dinner.

    I know, I can’t bring myself to do that either, but jeez.

  27. Grilled tequila lime chicken (Ina Garten), black beans, rice, sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado. Shredded cheese on the side (for topping black beans). Vegetarian doesn’t get chicken, dairy free doesn’t get cheese, but everybody has plenty to eat. Or, instead of the sliced veggies, have them bring a salad.

    (This entire meal is in regular rotation at our house – at least once/month and frequently twice.)

  28. Baked potatoes with chili – one meat chili, one veggie/bean chili. Shredded cheese on the side for those who eat it. Plus a big salad.

  29. Kate – other options are stir fry, thai curry, taco/fajita bar (with rice or lettuce to make a bowl and/or corn tortillas) – you can have meat and veggie options.

  30. I do encourage my kids to try things. They are at a point where they realize that although they may not be the best at everything, they have learnt things, which they would not have without trying. They have stuck with things – and after a honeymoon period, there has been a hump. Once they get past the hump, they have gotten competent enough to enjoy the activity. I think dealing with the hump is important and a check in point to see what exactly your goal is and maybe adjust your efforts accordingly.
    They have gotten to know a good number of adults and other kids.

    Kate – a lot of Indian recipes are dairy free, gluten free and vegetarian.

  31. Kate, I did this last weekend – but gluten free/vegetarian/nut free, it was dairy free by chance :)

    I made hamburgers, hot dogs, and ribs, put out gluten free rolls from the freezer section of the store, made vinegar cole slaw (the serious eats recipe, which is awesome), roasted some veggies and put out a lot of fruit.

    Just check the hot dogs and the condiments to make sure they are gluten free and you are good to go!

  32. You could also grill portabella mushrooms for veggie guests, if you’re doing hamburgers/hot dogs.

  33. Back on topic – The other day it was Field Day at my oldest’s school. When I asked her what she liked best about the day, she proudly proclaimed “losing at the three-legged race with ___”. She got a full cookie for that one.

  34. “However, our district is using it to dismantle tracking and gifted programming – all kids need to do is believe in themselves!”

    That was basically our school’s approach, and kids on the higher end of the academic spectrum learned that phoning it in got them A’s and lots of praise. They did not learn about failure or about the value of effort.

  35. “She likes to do enough to be very good, but not great.”

    “What’s wrong with that? It seems very sensible to me.”

    I agree that very good makes sense in most endeavors, especially if “great” means that other important parts of life will be shortchanged.

  36. “She likes to do enough to be very good, but not great.”

    One reason may be more work if you get into certain programs. DD tries to gauge what the work load is and how best to fit it in, without giving up the nice life she has going on.

  37. My kids often like to do enough to get the minimum done, but don’t put in extra effort. Drives me crazy.

    “No one will know that you know the material unless you show your work” is a common refrain.

  38. “That was basically our school’s approach, and kids on the higher end of the academic spectrum learned that phoning it in got them A’s and lots of praise. They did not learn about failure or about the value of effort.”

    This is my fear. They will get crushed the first time they need to really work hard at something (for me – college.)

  39. I agree with ATM, COC and others that my kids may opt out of formal education when they have to apply themselves academically. That is a result of the choice we have made as a society to prioritize egalitarian education and avoid tracking. Kids who attend classes with kids of similar innate aptitude will learn to work better than kids who don’t attend classes with kids of similar innate aptitude.

    I focus on developing a work ethic in my kids (making DS1 practice piano daily, etc.) and try to help them with social skills.

    Much of the question depends on what you mean by “smart” or “intelligent”. I just had a meeting with DS1’s principal where she was worried that he would “miss something” if he went ahead in math. This is the same child who created a bingo game as a second grader for his brothers using numbers from 1-100 and realized his principal didn’t understand how Bingo worked when the principal forgot her reading glasses and was reading numbers like “B-18”. He quickly saw the difference between the game he’d created (numbers from 1-100 divided into groups of 20) and the regular Bingo game at school (numbers from 1-75 divided into groups of 15). I never did manage to communicate to the principal why I’m not worried about him “missing stuff” in math.

  40. I also wonder how much of this really can be influenced by parents. I have one kid who is ultra, ultra competitive. His motto is “show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.” Everything, EVERYTHING with him is a competition. It can be very motivating for him, but it can also mean that if he’s not pretty sure he’ll win/be the best/etc., he’s reluctant to try or continue. He gets high praise from his teachers for his work ethic, which I think means he’s determined to be first in all things academically.

    My other one is the complete opposite. Totally uninterested in who wins, only interested in the process. Plays sports/games only to have fun. As a result, isn’t bothered by failure, and comes across as much more resiliant. Is willing to try new things and does not embarrass easily. He has a very, very strong work ethic, but teachers don’t see it the way they do with his brother, because he doesn’t insist on being recognized in the same way.

    I guarantee you they were born this way – the differences have been obvious since day one. There are pros and cons to both of those personalities. I think the best DH and I can do is help them identify situations that maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

  41. I agree that some of this is just how you are born. My siblings and I were raised in similar manner with different outcomes.

    I was always naturally gifted in math as a child, so the 2nd half of HS senior year calculus was a shock when I didn’t ace the material without effort.

    On saxophone I practiced all of the time, partially due to wanting to be first chair.

    Other areas I often say, “I’m just not good at that”, so I do need to work on my attitude with those things, I might never master computer programming for example but I can learn about anything if I put forth the effort.

  42. Update on the kid situation: the school has filed a report and spoke with my 2, the other kid and the other kid’s mom, separately. The school tells me the kid’s mom basically did not seem to believe my son had a concussion (he did). She does not want to meet or talk, and she did not even express regret that my kids missed performing, the event was ruined and that we ended up in the ER. Her son has not apologized. The kid is losing some recess.


  43. Kate – If you do gluten free buns or bread, be sure to check for milk in the ingredient list – they often contain dairy.

  44. ATM – I am sorry to hear your son had a concussion and I hope there are no lasting impacts.

    It’s unsurprising to me the other parent(s) don’t want to talk and there has been no apology.

  45. “If you were going to make dinner for a family who is gluten- and dairy-free along with one vegetarian, what would you make?”

    I’d order the full meal take out from Olive Garden, complete with the breadsticks and butter.

    They can look at it.

    After all, it’s the thought that counts.

  46. I heard an interview on NPR the other day where someone said that educators are moving too quickly from scientific studies to policy making. I think this is the real problem today. Our educators are flailing about, looking for a silver bullet: – oh “grit” is the answer, let’s test grit and evaluate teachers accordingly, or ‘child centered learning ‘ let’s give the kids control of the classroom, or ‘a growth mindset is good” let’s eliminate tracking!

  47. Mafalda, I have often thought about how we make policy, in education and elsewhere, and research rarely considers unintended consequences.

    As a conservative, I default to “the way things have always been done” as the best way to do things. Sometimes the way things have always been done is wrong, due to population changes or global communication changes or whatever, but it’s usually a good baseline.

    We’re troubleshooting a problematic process today and our goal is to get it back to baseline.

  48. ATM, is the other parent also a lawyer or aware that you are one?

    I find that other lawyer moms are cautious about admitting fault, especially since your family is likely to have some medical bills from the ER visit. (I try to apologize for the consequences without getting into who was at fault, because I have learned that sometimes my kids were the victims before they became the perpetrators, and vice versa.)

  49. Talking about liability and possibly being sued, has anyone set up a Family LP to shelter assets?
    I understand this is popular with doctors so that lawyers are told from the get go that the doctor has insurance but he doesn’t own anything – so no deep pockets,

  50. ATM – sorry to hear the outcome.

    This year was a good one for my kids. I thanked their teachers for all their efforts. Overall, so far it has been a good experience and whatever questions I had have been promptly answered.

  51. Old mom- FLPs are popular among aggressive estAte planners in TX, especially. I am not sure how good they are at creditor protection, but they are NOT good at shielding assets from estate tax unless they hold operating businesses and not just publicly traded stocks.

  52. ATM, I hope your soon feels better soon. That stinks about the other parent, but I wish the school administration or guidance counselor would facilitate an apology from her son to your son.

  53. ATM- I certainly hope they’re acting that way out of fear of being sued- because otherwise they are just first-class jerks. Sounds like maybe the apple didn’t fall far from the tree with that kid. Ugh.

  54. ATM – Sorry for the outcome at the school.

    My two are also very different – DD#1 until this year where time constraints kicked in, wanted every point in every class. This year workload vs time available came into play and she dialed back a bit. Here is the crazy part – she is take a boat load of AP classes next year in part because, they don’t assign as many group projects that drain time and in general she ends up doing the lion’s share because she wants all the points. DD#2 wants to get A’s, but a 92 is just as good to her as a 97.

    I find myself countering each child’s approach. DD#1 – I am regularly telling her to scale back because while creating her project so that it is challenging to her is great, but if she only has so many hours and if the project is not worth very much in her overall grade, she needs to prioritize. DD#2 – I am regularly telling that she needs to not assume that what she has done is enough to get the grade she wants. This year she as missed the boat a bit and gotten slightly lower grades than she expected – not enough attention to detail of including everything in the rubric or just plain rushing and making mistakes. She has been saved this year by the shear number of graded assignments, so that blowing a few didn’t have severe consequences. However, locally in high school, the teachers give fewer assignments, so next year she won’t be able to recover the same way.

    Me – I think I role model both behaviors in what appears to be a rational way (channel Rhett here), but my kids may not see that. For example, one work task is a requirement, it must be done every 2 years and it must have 3 components included. There is no indication that the receiving entity even reads them. They just seem to collect them and check off the box that you did it. I always take out the last one, make a copy and update the numbers and then read it to make sure nothing has really changed since then. On a different work task, my department is responsible for a very important report. If this document is wrong it could impact our funding. I put a lot of work into this document – checking and rechecking that it meets the requirements and all the data is right.

  55. Kate, I’m a gluten-free vegetarian. You might want to look up my post from a couple years ago when I first cut out gluten; I got lots of good suggestions. You’ve gotten good ones today too. Here are mine, off the top of my head:
    Fish, rice, veggies
    Greek salad (find out in advance if the lactose-intolerant person can eat feta) and spinach pies/spanakopita
    Thai, Chinese, or Indian have lots of veggie dishes that go over rice or rice noodles
    Quinoa salad and a yummy desert.
    A taco bar or fajitas with a wide variety of toppings

  56. ATM, awful that your kid had a concussion! Whether the other kids’ parents are too embarrassed to speak with you or don’t think their angel is doing anything wrong when kids plow themselves into walls in his presence on the regular, you clearly aren’t going to get no satisfaction there, and you’ve tried. I can’t remember what Mick Jagger does to deal with that, but for you it’s time to focus on what lessons your kid can learn from this. If he’s going to steer clear of this kid, how does that work at his age? Does he speak up for himself well?

    On topic, I did a workshop with Carol Dweck at the little Texas SLAC where I taught. I recognized right away that it would be good for my kid. Unfortunately, I did not realize how strongly preschools were drilling “you’re smart” and “boys don’t cry” into him. He has always had his issues with perfectionism, since long before then, but there are still teachers who can’t figure out that it when one is doing something difficult, being told “you’re smart” can be very demotivating, because it sounds like “you should be able to do this easily” and my guy feels like a failure if he has to work. I would love for him to develop a love for challenges. I’m still working on it. Perhaps as he grows older, teachers may be a little bit more distant, just enough for him to be ok with making mistakes.

  57. I just got this, from an old favorite organization. It’s for the parents of ATM’s classmate. They’ll never see it, but who of us hasn’t had a kid balk at apologizing? I absolutely hate the thing where the kid is pushed into place and made to say a word that has no meaning for them in that moment, other than to heap hot coals onto their heads.

  58. Regarding what I will tell my children about the topic when they’re a bit older. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win. But those who never win and never quit are idiots.”

  59. @WCE – I like that ! I have to be careful of how I deliver that message. My kids ave a habit of saying “but you said…..” and applying it to unintended situations.

  60. ATM, I’m sorry about the concussion and just the whole situation. The most charitable thing I can think of is that the mom said something like “oh, it seems unlikely my son would have caused ATM son’s to have a concussion” just as a defensive remark. Also, maybe the story she has received from her son is a very different version of the actual events. IME “not my angelic kid” is a very common reaction so I agree with Fred in not being surprised.

    “ educators are moving too quickly from scientific studies to policy making”

    Absolutely. Our school kids are guinea pigs subject to the latest educational “innovation”. When it doesn’t work, educators move on to something new, without considering that they may have handicapped a generation of kids. Consider that schools are one of the rare exceptions where parents’ permission is not required when children are subject to research nor is formal IRB review required for the welfare of the participant. On top of that, educational research is notoriously unscientific.

  61. “Consider that schools are one of the rare exceptions where parents’ permission is not required when children are subject to research nor is formal IRB review required for the welfare of the participant.”

    That isn’t true. If I want to do a research study involving minors, school setting or no, I have to go through a full IRB review. If I want to do a research study on my campus involving over 18 college students, I don’t have to do the full review, but I have to submit a full application, and wait for the IRB committee to rule that this is an exempt study. I also have to have my IRB certification in order. I know this because I have been through the process multiple times.

  62. Education research is in its own bubble.  I don’t have personal experience, but Wikipedia says this:

    U.S. regulations identify several research categories that are considered exempt from IRB oversight. These categories include:

    Research in conventional educational settings, such as those involving the study of instructional strategies or effectiveness of various techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods. In the case of studies involving the use of educational tests, there are specific provisions in the exemption to ensure that subjects cannot be identified or exposed to risks or liabilities.[

  63. @ATM — So sorry to hear about the other mom. My biggest bully in ES had a mom like that — literally used the term “my angel.” Which, you know, made it very clear exactly why and how he got that way. All I can suggest is to keep an eye out to make sure this doesn’t become a recurring issue for your kid. And if you can, try to spare a teensy bit of sympathy for the other kid. He doesn’t know any better — that’s what the adults in his life or for, to teach him to know better. And his don’t seem to be doing their job. So he’ll have a harder path to learn empathy and impulse control and taking responsibility for your own actions and all of those other things that make for a happier life as a grown-up.

  64. CoC, you still have to do the application to get the exempt status. You have to show how everything will be anonymized, how the data will be stored, and the subjects have to sign informed consent. The IRB committee has to review it. Universities all have IRB committees. Usually, when we collaborate with someone in K12, our university IRB committee does the approvals.

  65. Here is info on university/K12 research protocol from one particular university. It says that collaborations will need district approval and if the district uses its own IRB committee, it will have to go through that. Otherwise, they will usually want proof of IRB approval from the university before giving assent. There is also language on getting consents with minors

  66. I agree that kids in schools are Guinea pigs, but not in an IRB way. It’s much more casual and much, much less of a scientific study than that. The Florida School Board changes things up all the time, because somebody had a thought that Q might be better than P, so hey, let’s give it a try! Last year kids couldn’t do their standardized testing because the server was overloaded–with 9 months of time to plan and prep for the day when kids across the state would need it at the same time. The year before that they tried a new standardized exam, graded it too hard the first time, adjusted everyone’s grades, and basically threw their hands up re making any decisions based on it. They’re implementing Common Core, except when they’re not, and of course the state has been Ground. Zero for high stakes testing, starting when Jeb was gov. The entire approach is “throw it to the wall and see what sticks”. So new stuff is tried out on these kids all the time.

  67. yes, I agree that things are tried out all the time without a lot of forethought. Honestly, we are very guilty of that in higher ed too. And it isn’t just new stuff. Professors are very wedded to particular methods, which may be new and shiny, or old and faded – based on their own anecdotal observations alone.

  68. Jobs work like that too. Oh, X didn’t work, let’s try Y and see if we get better results. Often ot a lot of forethought on why that might work better or if there are any unintended consequences!

  69. Thanks for that clarification, MM.

    “based on their own anecdotal observations alone” — That’s the core of “action research”, which is lauded in education but has always seemed like a dubious way to guide new teaching methods.

  70. IME “not my angelic kid” is a very common reaction so I agree with Fred in not being surprised.

    That is a benefit of having more than one — you’re a little more able to be clear-sighted when you regularly see your little angels being little shits to one another.

  71. Update to my dinner dilemma – I made the stuffed peppers per Meme’s advice. Some with ground meat and rice. Some with veggies and rice. Adding a salad and baguette plus I made some strawberry sorbet and vanilla ice cream. Delivering this afternoon. Not my best meal, but at least everyone will have something to eat. Never again!

  72. ATM, the response from the kid and his mother suggest you did the right thing. The situation is likely to be repeated until a pattern of behavior is clearly documented.

  73. Not my best meal, but at least everyone will have something to eat. Never again!

    Seriously! Hand them a $50 and tell them to use Grubhub.

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