Here is a video we will discuss, and I hope you will think about at least a little. It addresses some thoughts and ideas, largely from the field of psychology and the work of Carol Dweck, called effective effort and mindset. Dweck proposes the notion that there are two main mindsets (in her book entitled Mindset) that are really important in education: fixed versus growth mindsets.
Over the past decade or two, scientists have learned much about the brain and how we learn. The brain is malleable, meaning it can change throughout life. Even with age, the brain can still grow, change, and form new synapses. One can get smarter. Intelligence is NOT fixed at birth, and those who buy into this incorrect notion and feel they are restricted naturally from getting smarter or doing better in school are in a fixed mindset. Those who understand they really can improve with effort, and that their brains can grow and their intelligence is not fixed are in the growth mindset. Dweck has seen in her studies significant differences between the success of fixed and growth mindset students (of all ages, gender, races and ethnicities, etc.).
Think of a student in a fixed mindset. If intelligence is fixed, and your potential and abilities are therefore limited in learning, then why would one want to expend extra effort and energy into trying to learn something a second or more times? Why try if it is pointless? Some students in this mindset also view extra effort as a sign of low intelligence, because you either have it or you don't, and it is dumb to try if you don't have the intelligence.
A student in a growth mindset takes the approach that additional effort is wonderful! Working harder and taking on continuous intellectual challenges is cool! The reason is no different than in something like basketball - if you want to get better at shooting free throws, what do you do? You try more free throws. You work on your strength so it is easier to shoot. You train your muscles to do the task. A growth mindset identifies how the brain really works - it is like a muscle, and you can train it, by mental exercise, to do the task you want! That is really neat!!
Check this video out, and think about it. More importantly, think about your own approach. Check out some of the science behind the claim the brain can grow, that one can become smarter by training the brain.