Our brains are constantly learning. Current research in neuroscience tells us that our brain is like a muscle; it changes, grows and gets stronger the more we use it. Simply put: the more you use your brain, the more you will have to use.
When we learn something new or practice a new skill, part of our brain changes in response to the new stimulus. The brain we were born with is not the brain we have now, and is not the brain we will have in ten or twenty years.
In a study carried out in 2007, about a hundred 7th grade learners who were performing poorly in mathematics were assigned workshops that taught them about the brain and that it forms new connections every time you learn something new (called the expanding nature of intelligence) and that learning makes you smarter. By the end of the term those that had been taught that you can become smarter had higher marks.
“When they studied, they thought about those neurons forming new connections,” Dweck, research psychologist co-leading the study affirmed. “When they worked hard in school, they actually visualized how their brain was growing.”
It is not only that knowledge that caused the learner’s marks to improve, though. The study revealed that the greater the learner’s belief that they could get more intelligent, the more their self-confidence improved. The greater the self-confidence, the better the test results.
To help our children perform better in tests and exams and in life, we need to empower them to believe that they can become smarter with diligence and that studying effectively will grow their brains!