Teaching to Perfect

I was faced recently with a question… So, should you teach to perfect or should you teach to improve future performance? I used ChatGPT to see what others are saying about this question. This is what I found.

Research in education supports the idea that teaching students to focus on improvement is more effective than teaching them to strive for perfection. Here are a few references to support this:

  1. Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House.

In this book, Carol Dweck explains the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and how the latter is more conducive to success and well-being. She argues that people with a fixed mindset believe their abilities and characteristics are set in stone, while those with a growth mindset believe they can grow and develop through effort and learning.

  1. Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational psychologist, 47(4), 302-314.

In this study, the authors investigated the relationship between mindset and resilience in the face of challenge. They found that students with a growth mindset were more likely to demonstrate resilience in the face of challenge and setbacks.

  1. Molden, D. C., & Dweck, C. S. (2006). Finding “Yet”: The power of yet in achievement and well-being. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1(1), 47-58.

In this article, the authors describe the impact of focusing on the word “yet” on achievement and well-being. By emphasizing what one has not yet accomplished but is capable of achieving, people can adopt a growth mindset and cultivate resilience in the face of setbacks.

In conclusion, these references suggest that by teaching students to focus on improvement rather than perfection, educators can help students develop a growth mindset and foster resilience, motivation, and a love of learning.