Friday, May 10, 2013


I watched a TED talk on education a few days ago on PBS. One of the speakers, named Angela Duckworth, spoke about "grit." Duckworth is a psychology professor who previously taught math in middle school and high school. She'd wondered why some students succeeded and others failed. It's the  same reason some adults succeed and others fail. Why do some very talented artists never get past art school? Why do some less talented artists get those big gallery shows? Why do some writers become published? Why do other more talented writers never bother to submit their story at all? Duckworth defines grit as,"sticking with things over the very long term until you master them." She wrote an analysis on grit that you can read here. In it she wrote, "the gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina."

It's funny because she says that IQ is easily testable but grit is not. She also said in her talk on PBS that she hasn't concluded how to teach "grit." I would like to inject my own opinion here and say that perhaps you cannot teach grit. It's something you're born with. 

I will say that even though I do think you're born with it I think teachers can certainly encourage all kids to be more gritty. I don't know how well it will stick with everyone. I just know from experience that you can't force someone to do something that they don't want to do. My sister has a lot of untapped talent but there's no amount of pushing that will get her to continue to write or submit a story to anyone. What teachers can instill is a confidence in children and I think that'll go a long way to adding that grittiness that is so needed. 

Test your grit here.

Below is Duckworth's 2009's talk on grit:

No comments:

Post a Comment