You've probably heard at least some talk on the importance of grit in our schools. I feel like there will be at least someone who is absolutely done with hearing the word grit. (Sorry.) But I found something out this week that will hopefully put the term grit into something a little more concrete.
This week, I had the opportunity to hear Jim Grant speak at my school. He gave a really great speech on the importance of grit in classrooms today. During that speech, he pointed out something that I found fascinating. I consider it the foundation of grit!
This is not exactly how it was presented, but here's what he pointed out:
Self-determination fosters perseverance, which increases effort.
This means the foundation of grit is self-determination.
I got to thinking about it, and it makes sense to me. I think of the word determine as a synonym for decide. In that case, self-determination can be thought of as the ability to decide for oneself. This means no one else influences the decision. If you have self-determination, you decide what you are going to do. Now that you are in control of your decisions, make the decision to stick with the task ahead and show perseverance. In order to show perseverance, however, it will require effort in sticking with it. So in order to have grit, you have to have the self-determination to decide to stick with the task at hand.
Great. So how do we foster self-determination in our classrooms? One thing that could be done is to focus on goal setting and getting your students to actually complete that goal using 5-10 minute conferences. The hardest part of setting goals is sticking with your goals, even when it gets tough. Kinda sounds like grit to me. You could also practice ways to overcome obstacles in order to finish a goal, even if it means to finish homework, such as practicing how to ask someone for help instead of giving up or having a discussion on why people don't finish what they start and figuring out what to do differently.
Don't forget that students look up to you, too. Tell your students a story about a time when you had trouble finishing something and what you did to overcome it. Make sure that you set an example for your students to follow every day, even when it gets tough. (Teachers need grit, too!)
What do you think? Is there something else that would be essential in fostering grit? What other ways could you incorporate self-determination into your classroom?
Have a great edventure! ~Sierra