Grit in Education

Posted by on March 31, 2014

Grit in Education

Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to student success, reports Tovia Smith for NPR. The idea is to get kids comfortable with struggle as a normal part of learning. To get parents and kids on board, educators say, they need to have a “growth mindset,” in the words of Stanford University professor Carol Dweck — the belief that success comes from effort — and not a “fixed mindset” — the notion that people succeed because they are born with intelligence or talent. Kids with fixed mindsets who think they lack the “gift” don’t bother applying themselves. Kids with fixed mindsets who always were told they were “gifted” and skated through school tend to crumble when they hit their first challenge. Teachers must change the way they see and speak to students, but adjustment isn’t easy for teachers trained to focus on high scores on standardized tests. Education writer Alfie Kohn sees the focus on grit as the latest fad, and doesn’t believe kids today are any less gritty than before. He feels research showing gritty people are more successful is “a pure circular assumption, like ‘persistent people persist.'” The onus should be on schools to get better at how they teach — not on getting kids to endure more of the same.

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