Being gritty about getting our kids grittier

grit2Browsing through twitter I came across this Ted talk by Angela Lee Duckworth, an American psychologist talking about grit as the key to success.  This ties in perfectly with the ideas of Dweck on ‘Growth Mindset’ and Berger on ‘an ethic of excellence’:

In it she describes grit as:

“sticking with your future — day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years — and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

“Passion and perseverance for long term goals”

“Working hard to make your future a reality”

true grit

So what does this mean in reality, on a day to day basis in the classroom? What do we as teachers need to be doing more of, to make our students more ‘gritty’?  Here are a few initial thoughts:

  • Not allowing students to give up and become stuck.  As Dweck says, if their response to  problem or a question is ‘I can’t do it’, your reply is ‘Yet’…..and then tell them that they will be able to do it.
  • Don’t accept substandard work.  Make them redraft their work, until it is of an excellent standard.
  • Use a structured approach to critique and feedback to support students with moving forward – with peer feedback, encourage students to ensure that it is kind, specific and helpful.
  • Provide students with the opportunity to practice and embed what they are learning. All too often we teach something, spend a little time on it and then move on. Without giving students the chance to practice.
  • Share their excellent work – in order to inspire others to meet this standard and show them what is possible with hard work and commitment.
  • Don’t use the phrase ‘Just do your best’ as this usually means accepting below standard work.  Instead tell them that they will go ‘beyond their best’.
  • Set challenging tasks for them that will make them struggle and so force them to develop resilience.
  • Stress that getting things wrong is fine, as that’s how we learn – then use their mistakes to develop learning further, by great questioning.
  • Have high expectations and show this by avoiding differentiated learning objectives, such as ‘all, most, some’  (or outcomes, however you wish to describe them) – this gives students an easy way out.
  • Praise the hard work and the commitment – not just the outcome.
  • Use a structured approach to critique and feedback to support students with moving forward – with peer feedback, make sure it is Kind, specific and helpful
  • Talk to students about grit – and reinforce with them that work it is often hard and difficult – and not always fun – but worth it in the end.
  • Talk about their goals – what are they aiming for in the future? Why is this going to support them with their goals?

Any other contributions?


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8 Responses to Being gritty about getting our kids grittier

  1. Reblogged this on paddington teaching and learning and commented:
    A truth we all implicitly recognise – persistence is key, often more important than talent. But the question is, how do we encourage it in our students? A great short post on a vital topic.

  2. dgslearningguru says:

    Reblogged this on dgslearningguru and commented:
    Grit….building it….getting it…developing it

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