“I’m not good at this stuff.”

As ambassadors of our fields for higher education, we often face students who struggle in our courses divert blame by simply stating that they do not have the aptitude for a specific area. Research has actually found that this occurs early in childhood — where six-year-old girls lose confidence in their intelligence and believe that a story character whose gender is not specified has to a male (see BBC link). There are several strategies in combating this issue: understand the student’s foundation, make the content relatable, and simply encourage the student that the area is not solely based on aptitude but hard-work.

Have other strategies? Feel free to leave us your thoughts in a comment!


“Bad Reactions to Bad Reactions”

Mercedes Taylor, a UC Berkeley teaching assistant, offer the following  advice on how “to prevent undergraduates from reacting emotionally to ‘bad’ [lab] results and help them learn the intended concept.”

1. Be positive.

2. Walk students through the possibilities of why they ended up with the results they did.

3. Use the opportunity to discuss the philosophy of science .

Read the article. It’s worth your time.