Perhaps a more accurate way to look at intelligence is to think about it as something gained through hard work and struggle. Children are expected to practice, practice, practice, until they master a skill. This means that we should change our frame of thought and our folk theory to see struggle as a good thing.
Struggling can teach children to work hard for something and to stick with it. This helps them develop emotional strength and perseverance. When they reach their goal, kids should be complimented for working so hard. With this approach to learning, the focus is on not giving up, which is the road to success and to building personal grit.
The way we think about struggle affects our behavior as students, teachers, and Learning Coaches. If we think of struggle as an indicator of low intelligence, then students could feel bad about themselves if they struggle. With this mindset, teachers could worry that they failed to teach the material well. And Learning Coaches or parents become concerned that they neglected to provide the support their student needed.
Instead, why not consider changing how we think about struggle? If we redefine struggle as an indicator of strength and recognize that it teaches students to face down challenges, then we would view challenges that students face as positive experiences. After all, our goal is not just to teach students academic knowledge, but to also teach them skills that will assist them in all areas. Helping kids learn to overcome difficulties is a lesson that will last a lifetime—imagine that!