Are you interested in learning about intelligence, and whether intelligence can be increased in children? If so, I’m going to teach you about the growth mindset, and how the growth mindset is the first step in increasing intelligence in your child. If you’d prefer to consume this content via video, then watch my YouTube video on this subject here.
If you’ve already read last week’s article, you already know the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. But did you know that the brain can get smarter, that it's like any muscle in your body, that with practice it can get stronger? If not, today, I’m going to share examples of children literally getting smarter beyond even what their parents & teachers thought possible. I’ll also give a very brief overview of how the brain works, and how we can make the mind stronger.
I’d like to start off by telling you a true story about kids getting smarter.
Marva Collins was a 2nd grade English teacher with a class that had the lowest level reading comprehension. A number of the students in her class had been labeled as learning disabled or emotionally disturbed. This was and still is a sad reality of life in the inner cities of the US.
Yet, by the end of the school year, these students were reading at a 5th-grade level, comprehending complex texts such as Aristotle & Shakespeare.
Now Mrs. Collins was clearly a remarkable, emphatic, educator who believed in her kids, which is why her name lives on in education history. The point of this video is not to focus on the process she used to enable this remarkable turnaround, but to clarify that intelligence is not a fixed trait. The brain is like a muscle; it can be grown! With hard work, the right process & specific resources, humans capability can be astonishing.
In another example, celebrated by the CBS show 60 minutes, students in Franklin County, Missippi were taught chess. Within two years, these students were transformed from being kids with little dreams and expectations for the future into confident, strategic and tough chess players winning state championships against much older kids. This is a pretty amazing story of kids exceeding expectations. Here is what Mitch Hamm, a parent who saw the impact of chess on his kids, told 60 Minutes “That was very sobering for them, to suddenly realize, ‘Wow, we are good.’ So them having the realization of their own potential was a beautiful moment.”
So at this point, you may be wondering how does the brain get smarter? Research on neuroplasticity has shown that connectivity between the neurons in our brain can both grow or strengthen with experience, practice and the right mental mindset. Also, research has discovered that by adopting a mindset that your mind can improve, by following the right strategy, your brain DOES grow, leading to more success and motivation.
I’m betting you’ve got more questions about the brain, so in my next article, I’m going to deep dive into Neuroplasticity and how the brain works.
Ok, so you may still be questioning this concept. If the brain really can grow smarter, then can I build my intelligence?
In 2008, a fascinating study was published called “Improving Fluid Intelligence with Training on Working Memory” by Jaeggi, Buschkuehl, Jonides and Perrig. Their research found that when students were trained for 1-2 weeks on an intensive, working memory task, those kids would naturally increase their score on that task due to all the practice. What was surprising is those same students raised their rating on an entirely unrelated cognitive task which they had not practiced. They had literally trained their brain to get smarter.
So now I bet you are wondering well how can I grow my intelligence?
Well, I’m not here to sell you a quick win solution. The reality is it takes a lot of effort, time, practice, resources, discipline and a luck. However, one of the pillars is having the right mindset. By learning how to apply a growth mindset to your daily life, you can train your brain to be more resilient, creative, optimistic and smarter. In the next article, I’ll dive deeper into neuroplasticity, which is the science behind rewiring your brain.
But if you can’t wait, here are three things you can do starting today to grow your brain.
1. Get enough sleep. Research has found a good nights sleep trigger changes in your brain that helps to improve memory.
2. Learn an instrument – research has shown that playing an instrument lights up your entire brain and can have a very positive impact on math & spatial reasoning skills. Sorry kids..but those recorder lessons aren’t optional.
3. Challenge yourself with new activities such as reading challenging books or trying new puzzles.
Alright, let's net it out! Here are the key points from today's post.
1. Research has shown that when kids understand that their brains can grow and change through effort, practice and the right strategy, that they do get smarter, with higher grades, more confidence, and motivated attitudes. They even get better at other activities that they haven’t also practiced yet which is wild!
2. Getting enough sleep, learning an instrument and challenging yourself are three ways to workout your brain.
3. The critical concept around all this is teaching children the growth mindset which is the central theme of this video series.
Now that you know about the growth mindset, I’m sure you’ll want actionable tips on how to raise a growth mindset child. If so, I’ve got three suggestions.
1. Read Dr. Dweck’s fantastic book. I flew through it on vacation in Mexico, and it changed my life.
2. If you don’t have time to read, then please subscribe to my YouTube channel as every week, I publish a video helping parents raise growth mindset kids.
3. If you don’t want to wait for the video series, and want to enable YOUR CHILD to TRANSFORM INTO A “YES, I CAN!” MINDSET, then please sign up for FREE, FUN 7 DAY GROWTH MINDSET SCAVENGER HUNT!
Over the 7 days,
- Your child will learn about the Growth Mindset using the award-winning animation series by the team at Class Dojo!
- Your child will read the stories of role models such as Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan and J.K Rowling and learn how they struggled too before achieving their fantastic success!
- Your child will learn about the brain’s amazing capability to get smarter!
- Your child will enjoy daily scavenger hunt activities around the house!
Sign up for the free kid's scavenger hunt today by clicking here . The next game starts this Monday, so sign up now.
What do you think of the research that intelligence can be increased? Please share examples where you’ve seen this happen in real life.
If you are interested in joining a community of parents who are trying to be the best parents they can be, then request to join the seed2stem Facebook group, and we’ll do our best to help you.
I’ll see you next Thursday!