OMATAS Blog

GRIT!

Aristotle believed that tenacity was one of the most valued virtues.

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 children?

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 obstacles.
• 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:

apathy,
irresolution,
laziness,
lethargy.

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.

So what?

1. The 5 measures of GRIT will be part of our assessment of every child.
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.

More information??
There are a few resources you can access that explain this in more detail.

• Angela Duckworth studies GRIT. Her work can be seen at https://sites.sas.upenn.edu/duckworth
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H14bBuluwB8
• 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. http://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/about/index.html and http://www.mindsetworks.com/
• 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

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