Grit is the combination of persistence and resilience. Persistence requires the ability to work through struggles and maintain focus on actions that matter in order to achieve the desired result.
Resilience is the ability to stay engaged when met with a setback. If a challenge arises, students must be abe to “get back up after being knocked down” and decide to maintain momentum with meaningful activity.
But, grit is more than persistence and resilience, it is the ability to demonstrate self-control for the long-term. For students, it may be a matter of months or years, and for adults, it may be a matter of decades. Grit is a trait present in all who have faced insurmountable odds.
When students learn how to manage setbacks in the course of their progress they learn to accept the challenge as an invitation to rise above failures both small and large. When faced with a daunting task, the consider the conditions and utilize their resources for maximum results. Ultimately they are met with greater success as a result of grit.
If students lack the strength of grit, they are at a disadvantage when compared to those who have developed it. Perhaps the conditions of our “trophy society” is to blame for what seems to be a lack of academic motivation. When every child is rewarded for the sake of participation, regardless of effort or outcome, an unreal expectation is established for long-term academic success. The “trophy” mindset disengages the need to cope with challenges.
In order to develop the mind and the character of our students, we understand we must prepare our students for the world beyond our classrooms. By teaching character strengths, specifically grit, we do just that. Learning more about how to use grit and other character strengths in our classroom have the potential to positively impact the academic growth of all students. Grit is about being dedicated for growth over time.
Teaching grit has a residual impact over time on the character development of students. Success requires a personal investment not only in the outcome but also in the progress towards the desired result.
There is no magic lesson that will suddenly transform your classroom. But, a free class titled: Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms may be a great place to start with character education.
If you want to learn more about how grit and the other character strengths create a positive classroom structure and increase student engagement click on the link above or visit Coursera.org. There are many other free classes offered for your on-going education.
Time to Share About Grit …
Have you spent time helping students develop the character strengths, grit? We’d appreciate hearing your success stories about helping student persevere through challenging times. 🙂