Grit, Mindset, Prior Experience… and Parents

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We had professional development about Angela Duckworth’s Grit. Duckworth refers to “grit” as the combination of passion and perseverance, and claims that this combination is what leads to success. Based on her story about the West Point survey, it seems that she is defining ‘success’ as being able to achieve goals that you’ve set for yourself.


mindset.jpgThe discussion did not really examine this definition of success, which was a shame, as the ability to set appropriate goals is a skill in and of itself. A goal that’s too difficult to reach creates discouragement and frustration, while one that’s too easy doesn’t provide a sense of accomplishment.

Likewise, it would also be helpful to explore passion. Why are different people passionate about different things? What creates passion? Understanding that might help us identify and develop passion, not only in our students, but in ourselves as well.

We did, however, start looking at perseverance. Why do some students give up while others keep trying? We discussed motivation (intrinsic/extrinsic) as well as locus of control, and that brought us to the concepts of “fixed” and “growth” mindsets that Carol Dweck discusses. Students with a fixed mindset view success or failure as based on inherent ability, while those with a growth mindset see it as more connected to the effort they put in or the strategies they used.

And we also noticed that there’s often a correlation between the mindset a student demonstrates and what we hear from parents.

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Community Blogging – Day 4

I finished Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation earlier this week. It was really helpful for me as a teacher, and particularly important in light of the school closures. Students are working individually and independently, and so self-motivation becomes even more important than it is in a classroom setting. Continue reading

The Myth of Laziness

“Bryan’s got plenty of ability; he’s just lazy.” “There’s no reason Susan can’t get her homework done; she’s just lazy.” “I should have studied more for that test. I guess I was just being lazy.”

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard remarks like these about students – from their parents, from other teachers, and sometimes, even from themselves. The problem is, it’s a load of nonsense. And I’m not putting up with it anymore.

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