True Grit…

Posted by Glen on Mar 7, 2016

True Grit is the factor that determines if a student will succeed in learning, not praise, not teaching styles but the students resilience. Their capability to overcome adversity and challenges to tackle educational problems and overcome them makes them successful.

Its all very British.

I found the ted talk incredibly insightful and very inspiring, this was because I saw what got me passionate about teaching in the first place, the belief that with the right mindset, determination and grit anything is possible. I believe that statement wholeheartedly not just for teaching but for anything in life and speaking from personal experience I’ve found grit to be that fight in your body’s fight or flight response that makes it so integral to survival/success.

However I found that the ted talk was somewhat lacking in a quantifiable definition of grit, rather comparing it against those students who were less gritty I believe a much more effective explanation of grit would come from interviewing students, identifying why they never give up and what inspires them to achieve and succeed. That way we could apply that mindset more effectively in our schools and certainly from an early age.

I found the application of grit to real world scenarios very effective however, but I feel perhaps a trick was missed by instead applying grit to one of the most demanding jobs out there. Teaching.  It’s safe to say that teachers are the grittiest people going, with multiple challenges, stresses and problems to overcome on a daily basis so when earlier I asked how should we quantify grit, perhaps we already know, perhaps the best people to ask are yourselves, what were your reasons for learning to teach? What made you stick it out on the worst days? Because those are the true examples of grit.

I do however believe the concept of Grit is to be seen as an eclectic combination of biology and life factors, rather than something entirely transferable, I argue this because I believe had Grit been something purely social, it might’ve been identified a long time ago, and applied to teaching, and maybe I’d be evaluating its success in the classroom instead of advocating it’s instant induction into the classroom.

However I have to take the concept of grit with a pinch of salt, grit implies that a negative experience will arise from learning, that you’ll face a challenge somewhere in your learning that you’ll struggle to overcome without grit. Now call me an optimist but by applying multiple teaching strategies, and targeting every pupils weaknesses and strength (for sure no easy feat) students theoretically should never experience a problem so bad in school that they’d need to be gritty.

However in conclusion I quite like the idea of grit, but instead of directly teaching students to be grittier, further exploration of what is meant by grit is needed, followed up by a frank discussion about whether students need to know about grit, or can we in some way change their mindset to be more gritty in situations that require it, and finally making their education experience a place where ideally they may not need grit at all.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.