Comforting struggling students can backfire

Previous research tells us that students who see intelligence and ability as fixed will tend to give up when confronted by a difficult problem, whereas those who see intelligence as growable will persevere. But how do teachers' beliefs about ability affect the way they perceive and respond to their students' performance?

A new investigation discussed on our Research Digest concludes that: "As upsetting as poor performance may be to a student, receiving comfort that is oriented toward helping them to accept their presumed lack of ability (rather than comfort that is oriented toward helping them to improve) may be even more disturbing."

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