Xiaodong Lin on NPR: Science Scores Rise For Kids Who Learn That Scientists Fail | Teachers College Columbia University

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Xiaodong Lin on NPR: Science Scores Rise For Kids Who Learn That Scientists Fail


NPR's Shankar Vedantam interviewed Xiaodong Lin for Morning Edition, about her research. Lin and her team of graduate students gave some high school science students information showing that even famous scientists like Albert Einstein had multiple failures before they had career-making breakthroughs in their research. Other students were just given information about the famous scientists' historic successes, and nothing about their failures and struggles. When all the students were later given a follow-up science exam, those who learned about the scientists' struggles improved their science grades significantly, while the grades declined among students who only learned about the scientists' achievements.

The lesson in LIn's research, says Vedantam, is that, in order to see themselves as future scientists, students need to learn that famous scientists are often brilliant, but also that they struggle. "Role models, at some level, need to be like us. They need to face struggles and obstacles and doubts. When we turn heroes into superheroes, you know, superficially it can seem inspiring. But it can actually be discouraging because we feel what they achieved is just out of my reach."

To listen to the story and read a transcript, click here.

Published Wednesday, Jun 8, 2016

Xiaodong Lin
Xiaodong Lin, Associate Professor of Cognitive Studies