Does early self-control determine a child’s future success?

If so, can self-control be taught?

When I read that The Marshmallow Experiment was replicated yet again, it got me thinking about why this is.

The Marshmallow experiment is one of the most famous social science experiments. The first time this experiment was carried out was in 1960, by a professor at Stanford University.

In this experiment, young children were offered a marshmallow to immediately consume or 2 marshmallows if they waited 15 minutes. The results were then linked to educational attainment, higher SAT’s scores and even lower BMI. In other words, the children who were able to wait for the 2 marshmallows generally did better in later life.

This would suggest that behaviours such as self-control cannot be taught. If you extend that to education, does it mean that every child is born only with fixed traits in learning?

This experiment has been replicated with some sort of twists over the years. Almost all of them have drawn different conclusions from the original.

 

The Marshmallow experiment has been repeated yet again, this time to test results looking at social and economic conditions, and this time, the conclusion is that children from poorer backgrounds fared worse.

Yet in another very similar experiment, Cameroonian children showed that they waited twice as long and complained a lot less.

To my mind that puts the social equality theory into question.

Also, what if the child does not like marshmallows, or they simply think that two marshmallows are not worth the wait, and they may have waited if there were more?

I would also say that this has not taken into account the massive impact of things like social media and the internet. It also does not take into account the differing personalities of each child.

Young children are said to be impulsive and to live in the present moment, with no concept of the future. To add insult to injury, children are said to grow up with a sense of entitlement and the need for instant reward. There is the perception that the more technology reliant a child is, the shorter the attention span.

If we extend this to academic success, does it mean that this will lead to poorer grades in school?

 

Across my many years of tutoring, I have seen and worked with children who had set their goals and were determined to achieve them- whatever it took, while others were simply happy to coast. Some children are simply not academically inclined.

As a tutor, I believe that whilst self-control is important, determination is equally as important, if not more so. This along with guidance and practice is surely the key for any achievement, academic or otherwise.

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Non-Verbal Reasoning Codes – How to Answer

Our year 4 and year 5 11+ students have recently been learning how codes questions work in Non-Verbal Reasoning. There are a few techniques you can use to answer these types of questions more quickly and more accurately.

The first thing to do is look at the different position numbers and find shapes which have the same letter in the same position number. For example the following question has 3 letter positions, each of which represent a different element of the shape.

We can see that the first and second shape both have the letter ‘A’ in the first position. We must then look at these shapes and see what element they have in common with each other. In this case the only thing they have in common is the fact that they both have a dot inside the main shape. ‘A’ stands for dot. Therefore ‘B’ (a different letter in the same position) must represent a shape having no dot.

At this point we look at our question shape to see whether it has a dot or not. It does, meaning the first letter of our answer is ‘A’.

It is best to fill this in as soon as you have worked out this element rather than trying to work out all three letters at once at the end.

Are there any more positions with the same letter in both?

In this case the answer is yes. Shape 1 and shape 3 both have ‘X’ as the letter in position number 2. What element do shape 1 and shape 2 have in common? They both have a border. ‘X’ must stand for border and ‘Y’ must stand for no border.

Our question doesn’t have a border so it’s second letter will be ‘Y’. Again fill this in as soon as you find it.

Now in most cases there will be a position number where all the letters are different. It is always best to leave this until the end as we have already ruled out some of the elements of the shapes.

In our question, the 3rd position is where all of the letters are different. What is different about all 3 shapes? The shapes themselves. So ‘N’ must stand for square, ‘M’ must stand for star and ‘L’ must stand for pentagon.

Our question shape is a pentagon so the 3rd letter will be ‘L’.

See if you can work out the answer to the question in the second picture. Comment with your answers.

To learn more about these question types as well as others you can refer to RTG Non-Verbal Reasoning Book 1 on Amazon as well as practice questions and learn about Non-Verbal Reasoning from the ground up.

For more difficult questions as well as practice papers see RTG Non-Verbal Reasoning Book 2 on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Non-Verbal-Reasoning-Book-1/dp/0993377009/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1539442167&sr=8-3&keywords=RTG+non+verbal

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Non-Verbal-Reasoning-Practice-Book-Publishing/dp/0993377017/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1539442251&sr=8-2&keywords=RTG+non+verbal