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Kids are under a lot of pressure to make the most of their education.
And while good teachers and healthy study habits no doubt help kids get better grades, so do a slew of factors out of students’ control.
Boosts can come from something as simple, yet vital, as a clean pair of clothes; or instilling in kids a mindset that tilts toward growth instead of rigidity.
Here are some of the more unexpected things that help students succeed.
1. How “gritty” they are
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We say some people are “mentally tough” or “gritty” as if these were mere personality traits. But UPenn psychologist Angela Duckworth has found that stick-with-it quality to be vitally important in accomplishing goals.
Duckworth’s research has found the kids who do the best in life learn how to cultivate this skill of resilience.
In short, they know how to get back up after they fail.
2. Their attitude about themselves
Duckworth’s research is grounded in a larger mindset that parents can teach their kids, which comes from noted psychologist Carol Dweck.
Dweck found that high-achievement stemmed from “growth” mindsets, not “fixed” mindsets. Kids who learned to see themselves as capable of change – of growth – excelled far beyond those who saw themselves as inherently incompetent.
In school, this means learning from a bad grade for next time, not taking it as a sign of ominous things to come.
3. If they go to summer camp
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Summer camp appears to offer two unique benefits to students at different stages in life, according to research.
The first comes in camp’s ability to keep students engaged. Sociologists observe a “summer setback” among kids who spend their off-months at home, but a retention of learned knowledge among kids who stay active.
Other research has found the social lessons taught at sleepaway camps can make college a much easier adjustment later in life.