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The way you talk to your child about math matters


The way you talk to your child about math matters

Parents’ responses to children’s math success, failure linked to motivation, anxiety “You’re so smart!” This encouraging response may actually do more harm than good to children’s math performance, according to a new study by the University of Georgia. Co-conducted by Michael Barger, an assistant professor in the Mary Frances Early College of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology, the study found that encouraging children with responses related to their personal traits or innate abilities may dampen their math motivation and achievement over time. Parents who make comments linking their children’s performance to personal attributes like intelligence (e.g., “You’re so smart” or “Math just isn’t your thing”) are using what’s referred to as person responses. In contrast, parents who link their children’s actions, such as effort or strategy use, to their performance (e.g., “You worked hard” or “What might be useful next time you have a math test?”) are using process responses.
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21 of February 2024