Showing posts from 2019

Learning about failures of famous people can motivate students

In a study, 402 9th- and 10th-grade students from four New York City high schools in low-income areas  were divided into three groups. 
Group 1 read an 800-word typical science textbook description about the great accomplishments of Einstein, Curie and Michael Faraday, an English scientist who made important discoveries about electromagnetism. Group 2 read about those scientists’ personal struggles, including Einstein’s flight from Nazi Germany to avoid persecution as a Jew.  The third group of students read about the scientists’ intellectual struggles, such as Curie’s persistence despite a string of failed experiments. The struggle stories included actions the scientists took to overcome these hurdles. At the end of a six-week grading period, students who learned about the scientists’ intellectual or personal struggles had significantly improved their science grades, with low-achievers benefiting the most. The students in the control group who only learned about the scientists’ achi…