Being determined to succeed matters. Any significant achievement doesn’t only have to do with what you know or who you know. It has to do with how hard you are willing to work for it. How do we build up storage for tenacity for our children? In educational circles there has been a lot of discussion about “grit”. Grit is a word being used to describe having the ability to persevere when learning becomes difficult. “Carol Dweck’s work on mindset is a well known example about how our beliefs about our own learning affect our success” (Edutopia).
Here are our thoughts:
- We believe this to be true. We believe that children need to develop this grit so they can work through challenges. This is true for us. When we hit a wall, it is determination that helps us to get over it.
- Grit is a life skill and we have to build classroom environments that allow us to flex grit and set expectations for children that learning can be rewarding work. The environment needs to feel safe for risk taking; in pursuit of success will come failure and that is celebrated. It is about the process and the journey.
- Grit is something you can control. You can control how hard you can work and it can become a discipline. You can build stamina for how long and for how hard you will work. The key is to have something worth working for.
If you haven’t seen this before, this is Carol Dweck – A Study on Praise and Mindsets:
The research is compelling. A turn of phrase can yield significant structural changes in how students regard themselves and what they have to offer. Most times, students will live up to our expectations. It is all about perception and what children think we value. If we value hard work and identify their engagement with learning within that context, they will perform in accordance with this belief. If we build a belief system where the reason they do well is because they are smart, they will think it is out of their control. They know it because they are smart and they don’t need to work hard they’re just smart. In the end the old adage brains versus brawn is not so simple. It’s not that we are undervaluing intelligence. Some things are predisposed but we want to create belief systems that support growth and children reaching their full potential.