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Student Overconfidence, Continued

i love meMore of the mounting evidence that self-confidence is not the key to academic success is finally showing up in the popular press:

Forsyth and Kerr studied the effect of positive feedback on university students who had received low grades (C, D, E and F). They found that the weaker students actually performed worse if they received encouragement aimed at boosting their self-worth.

It feels cruel, but the evidence shows one of the best things you can do for a below-average student is let him know clearly that his performance is below average.

Thinking you are an above average performer, while consistently producing below average results, is a short path to a long life of disappointment. Better to face the truth and change.

Need more evidence? Keep reading.

  1. Sir
    February 23, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Let’s be honest Mr. Hahn , I don’t think thats what you will your son

    • Kelcy Hahn
      February 25, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      I’m not sure I know what you mean. If you meant to write “I don’t think thats what you want for your son,” you’re wrong: I want to him learn stuff, not think he knows more than he really does. Self-esteem is *not* the key to success–skill and character are.

  2. Sir
    February 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    And once again permit me to disagree. What I meant was. “Is that what you will tell your son?” In other words, if your son is an E student currently, your way of motivating him would be to tell him what? “Dont worry son you are an average student”
    If am a kid like that, How am I supposed to step up when my dad agrees with my grades?

  3. Kelcy Hahn
    February 25, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    No, I wouldn’t tell him “Don’t worry.” That’s the point.

    The self-esteem approach tells people “you are wonderful the way you are, so smart and unique” even when they perform poorly.

    I would tell him: “You can do better than this, and if you don’t, life is going to be harder for you. You need to study harder, and work harder, to improve your grades. No more TV or video games until your grades get better.”

    I also wouldn’t want his teacher to give him an A if he was really an E student, just to “encourage” him.

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