Grit, is this too easy?

It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s sports or education the focus should more on be on grit than on ability. Valedictorians are not always the students with the highest IQ and a state champ isn’t generally the most athletic but they achieve at the highest level because they simply won’t accept anything less for themselves.

A few of the most powerful things we need to look at in this piece are:

The speakers definition of grit; that it is sustained will over a lengthy time period. We tell our athletes that you can’t have a good practice every now and then and be the best and the same is true for education. While this is often difficult for young students and athletes to understand we need to be teaching it from a young age so it can become more ingrained in our students mindset.

Growth mindset; People who have growth mindset do look at failure the same as people with fixed mindset. Talk to the best athletes in the world and they will tell you of their failures almost as often, as sometimes more often, as they speak of their successes. But they all talk about using them as a learning platform and how they made them better. We need to be teaching this to our students; miss a bunch of problems on a test, ok how do we learn from this and get better. Failure is many times the most important learning tool we almost never use. Teachers, good teachers, fail at instruction on a regular basis. The difference between good teachers and not bad teachers is how they recognize a failed lesson, evaluate what did and did not work and why, and make the proper changes. Mediocre employees, athletes, teachers, etc. recognize the failure and say “well I’m not going to try that again.” That is a fixed mindset and it dooms people to failure.

While we don’t really know exactly what it is that makes kids gritty “we need to be gritty about getting our kids grittier.” Maybe the most powerful part of the speech.

 

As I have continued researching into this I have come across some very good counter points. Here is a link to an Alfie Kohn response:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/04/08/ten-concerns-about-the-lets-teach-them-grit-fad/

I have a ton of respect for Mr. Kohn and his insight into education is some of the best you will ever come across. I have to say, maybe I was too quick to jump on the easy response.

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