Friday, July 25, 2014

People Are Buzzing About Grit

What is grit? Well, if you went to  you would get this definition:

  • Abrasive particles
  • A coarse-grained rock with sharp edges
  • Firmness of character, pluck
The concept of grit in education is being tossed around a lot lately. I"m pretty sure people aren't having discussions about rocks or particles, unless of course they are talking about something in the realm of science. Instead these discussions are centered around character, determination, perseverance. Is the concept of grit something that can be taught? That in itself is another topic being batted around. I had recently shown this TED talk given by Angela Lee Duckworth on this very same topic.

The purpose of showing the presentation to my students actually had nothing to do with the topic itself. I selected it because my students were getting ready to give oral presentations, and her TED talk is a great example of a good presentation. Really good. Dr. Duckworth gets her point across. She convinces her audience that this is a topic that definitely warrants further exploration!

If you Google Angela Lee Duckworth, you will actually find she has begun work on answering this question. You can even find out how much grit you have by taking an online quiz. By the way, I scored a 4.38 out a possible 5; meaning I have a fair amount of grit.

As you interact with students in the upcoming school year, ask yourself this question: "Are the students I am working with or observing being provided with opportunities to determine if they do have an amount of grit?" Are they being exposed to authentic and rigorous learning experiences on a daily basis? While we continue to debate whether or not this concept can be taught, we can most certainly continue to develop and implement lessons and programs that strengthen students' problem solving skills, their character, and their ability to persevere. Keep your eyes open. You just may be teaching grit without even knowing it! 

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