Language in Bloom

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The Gritty Classroom

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about grit.

Grit, as in, “a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal,” according to Angela Lee Duckworth, who has spent years studying attributes of successful students. If you haven’t watched Dr. Duckworth’s TED talk on the topic, I suggest you watch it as soon as possible.

A fascinating and exciting idea, right? That innate talent has little to do with success. And as an educator, this aligns with what I’ve seen in my classrooms. It also gives teachers a little more ammunition for convincing our students that hard work really does pay off.

The Freakonomics podcast is currently doing a series of episodes on how to be good at anything, and there was an episode about how to get more grit in your life, which is why I’ve been thinking about this concept again. One of the issues that was brought up was the question of whether or now we should include grit indicators to assess student performance; her stance on this issue was that we don’t yet know enough about grit, and how to develop it, to be able to include it in high-stakes testing.

But it got me thinking… just how do we include grit in our classrooms? How do we create an environment in which students can develop grit, in addition to developing other knowledge and skills?

For most teachers, I would guess that you already include some element in your classroom that cultivates grit. If you’re not sure, here are some suggestions:

What practices do you employ in your classroom to help students develop their grit?

Of course, educators are not the only ones who should find this research valuable. Parents, employers, and students themselves may find Dr. Duckworth’s findings applicable to their own attitudes towards personal and professional growth. Luckily, you have some great resources at your disposal to share these ideas: the book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is available on Amazon, and you can access the above TED talk and the Grit Scale tool at any time.

If you’ve read the book I’d love to hear your thoughts. And don’t forget to share your own tips for how to develop grit!

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Written by

Tammy Bjelland
Language lover, teacher & coach.

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