Aristotle believed that tenacity was one of the most valued
I am reminded of the 10 000 hour rule… it states that
exceptional expertise requires at least 10,000 hours of practice.
(This is a concept that argues that deliberate, dedicated and focused practice
over a very long, sustained time period; assuming appropriate talent,
intelligence and age, will bring excellence.)
Admittedly, our goal as a school is not 10 000 hours but
the concept drives the point that in order to get better at something children
must be able to show determination to proceed even in the face of uncertainty,
confusion, volume of work, failure, anxiety, inability and other obstacles that
will always lie before them.
Is GRIT an important trait to pass on to our
GRIT means sticking it out, hanging in there long enough to
reap the rewards. GRIT means struggling, failing and carrying on.
GRIT is persistence and resilience.
These sound like things we would want for our kids.
At Omatas we already have a belief that mistakes are good,
but it is not the mistake that is important but rather what you do after you
have discovered your mistake. Mistakes are meant to be made, it is part of the
learning process, so naturally children should be making more mistakes than
adults. Are schools embracing this learning process? Are we?
Mistakes come in all forms and can be mentored in all areas
like showing children how to say sorry or demonstrating how to find the GRIT to
start again when the answer turned out to be wrong, or finding different
answers in an experiment gone wrong.
So what does GRIT look like?
• Students finish what they start, completing tasks despite
• They show a combination of persistence and resilience.
• They carry on even after experiencing failure.
• They understand that struggle is important to success.
What is the opposite of GRIT?
Not showing GRIT is not the same as a counterproductive
version of GRIT. If you don’t have GRIT is not destructive it is just neutral.
SO the opposite of GRIT would have to be …
Grit can be measured using these statements:
• Finished whatever s/he began
• Stuck with a project or activity for more than a few weeks
• Tried very hard even after experiencing failure
• Stayed committed to goals
• Kept working hard even when s/he felt like quitting
When we reward for behaviour we need to know what is the
opposite. A lack of GRIT is not necessarily bad, but displaying traits that are
destructive may attract ‘demerits’.
Destructive behaviour that is measurable:
GRIT can be taught.
In terms of intentional change, one promising direction for
research is the correction of maladaptive, incorrect beliefs. For instance,
individuals who believe that frustration and confusion are signs that they
should quit what they are doing may be taught that these emotions are common
during the learning process. Likewise, individuals who believe that mistakes are
to be avoided at all costs may be taught that the most effective form of
practice entails tackling challenges beyond one’s current skill level.
GRIT is part of a state of mind that enables success
through believing that, no matter what your initial talents, aptitudes,
interests or temperament are, everyone can change and grow through application
and experience. Talent alone does not create success, basic abilities can be
developed through dedication and hard work. This view creates a love of
learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
1. The 5 measures of GRIT will be part of our assessment of
2. We all need to use the words GRIT, LEARNING, RESILIENCE, PERSEVERENCE,
DEDICATION, HARD WORK, CARRY ON … and notice it in the children when they
really show it.
3. We need to role model GRIT and encourage it in the kids.
4. We need to see it as a valuable character trait.
5. Understanding GROWTH MINDSET (see links below)
6. Looking into WOOP (see links below)
synonyms: courage, courageousness, bravery, pluck, mettle,
mettlesomeness, backbone, spirit, strength of character, strength of will,
moral fibre, steel, nerve, gameness, valour, fortitude, toughness, hardiness,
resolve, determination, resolution.
There are a few resources you can access that explain this in more detail.
• Angela Duckworth studies GRIT. Her work can be seen at
She has spoken twice at TED, you can see the videos in my Dropbox account or download
them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaeFnxSfSC4 and
• KIPP Academy New York – there are links on this section that talk more about
GRIT and the other 6 traits: http://www.kippnyc.org/kipp-character/
• WOOP, which stands for Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan, is a conscious exercise
leading to strategic automaticity: The Wish, Outcome, and Obstacle part of WOOP
build nonconscious associations between future and reality and between the
obstacles and the actions to overcome the obstacles. These associations provide
energy and foster the mastery of set-backs. The Plan-part of WOOP further helps
to overcome difficult obstacles by strengthening the association between
obstacles and actions even more. http://www.woopmylife.org/
• Mindset – identifying the difference between seeing abilities as fixed as
opposed to something that can be developed.
• Forbes – http://www.forbes.com/sites/margaretperlis/2013/10/29/5-characteristics-of-grit-what-it-is-why-you-need-it-and-do-you-have-it/
Author: Lauren Edmunds – Copyright