Jill Abraham is a mother of three in Scarsdale, and her view is typical of those in my straw poll. I told her about Dweck's research on praise, and she flatly wasn't interested in brief tests without long-term follow-up. Abraham is one of the 85 percent who think praising her children's intelligence is important. Her kids are thriving, so she's proved that praise works in the real world. “I don't care what the experts say,â€? Jill says defiantly. “I'm living it.â€?
In addition to Jill's response, another mother feels “what comes out of academia often feels artificial.â€? I find these responses problematic, though not uncommon. When it comes to education, everyone knows best. Can't we see the irony here? Knowing best often means blindly adhering to the first bit of research that you heard of. These parents were raised when the research showed that praising children was important. When new studies problematize this they no longer have the time to question their beliefs. What can be done to change this is an important question for educators to think about.