Thursday, October 09, 2008

Brain: The turtle really did beat the rabbit, you know ...

MercatorNet “Navigating Modern Complexities” has kindly published my recent article on getting good marks, “The payoff for straining the brain: Does self-discipline beat intelligence? What about a good night’s sleep?”(October 8, 2008):

When researchers examined the final grades of 164 Grade Eight students, together with their acceptance or rejection from a prestigious high school, they found that “scholarly success was more than twice as dependent on assessments of self-discipline as on IQ.” Students with more self-discipline—meaning that they would sacrifice short-term fun for long-term gain—were more likely to improve their marks during the school year than those who wouldn’t sacrifice fun. By contrast, a high IQ did not predict a rise in grades.

Obviously, this won’t surprise an experienced teacher or a mature parent. But it bears repeating all the same: Modern neuroscience is not overturning millennia of experience; it is filling out what the other disciplines already tell us. Our brains are very plastic organs, and paying attention determines the areas in which they develop. Like our bodies, brains must be exercised effectively to achieve our goals. That is why self-discipline is as important to brain exercise as to body exercise.
Go here for the rest.

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