Assorted Stuff has a link to a recent Scientific American article entitled "The Secret to Raising Smart Kids." It's well worth your attention if you have a few minutes to spare. The information interested me because it is an extension of my dissertation work. Instead of applying mastery vs. performance motivational beliefs to student achievement, researchers have been applying these perceptions to intelligence. Kids who believe that intelligence is a fixed commodity (performance orientation) have behaviors that keep them from improving their performance; children who believe that that being smart is something you can learn (mastery orientation) will continue to improve. (There is more on the research over at Edutopia: Tell Students to Feed Their Brains.) The implications for educators are sprinkled throughout the article, but if you're looking for something you can directly apply to the classroom, check out the last two pages talking about "Brainology." Kids who learn how their brain works to learn make marked improvements over those who solely receive tutoring/help with study skills.
After attending the Sound Grading Practices conference this week, I am even more convinced of the need to work with teachers around building classroom environments that emphasize mastery goals. Grading is one piece of the puzzle, to be sure, but there is so much more that can be included. Looks like teaching kids that their brains are plastic in ability and how to harness that quality is one more. The role of feedback and how teachers word it is also a key piece. We can help kids be masters of their intelligence.