Saturday, December 31, 2016

There's Something About that Word "Smart"...

I came to my blog today to write a post about a book and I found this draft post.  I re-read it and decided I can't remember why it hadn't been posted... so here it is


There's something about that word "smart."  Today, I had a student say to me, "Mrs. Brattin, I'm just not smart."  We have all had students say that to us.  I'm sure most of the time I may have said something like, "Of course you're smart!"  I decided to try something a little different.  Instead, I said to the student, "You know, I really don't like that word, smart."  He just gave me a confused look.  I felt I had to expand.  

I explained to him was that the word smart implies a finished product and that he is not a finished product.  I told him that I understand that he may be struggling with the assignment and that's okay.  Struggle just means there is more work to do.  That's our job as students; take up a challenge, struggle, learn more and get better.  

I also snuck in a buzzword those of us who follow Carol Dweck's research are all too familiar with, "yet."  I explained that he isn't an expert on the topic, yet.  However, with more work and practice, he will soon be.  I think he felt a little more empowered after our conversation. 

We also discussed words that we liked better than "smart."  We decided that being wise is something to strive for.  All in all, this was a pretty good day in 5th grade intervention class.  This student became a little more resilient today;  and that's a good thing, much better than becoming smart.   

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