A current parent shared the following article, Grit
, with me this past week. It turned out to be a very timely piece heading into the final week of classes.
In the late 1960s, Stanford University conducted the famous 'Marshmallow' test
, studying self-control in pre-school aged children. The results found that those children who were able to delay gratification (wait 15 minutes to have two marshmallows rather than eat one immediately), were found to be better behaved, less addicted, and scored higher on the SAT's as teenagers.
The notion of 'delayed gratification' plays directly into the process of educating teenagers at Proctor. Doesn't everyone desire to see the positive results of their actions immediately? I study hard for a test, I get a good grade…that's how it works, right?
The article goes on to discuss the notion that self-control, while important to achievement, is not the entire story, but rather 'grit' is the best predicator of success.
Grit is defined, by Catherine Morris Cox, as the, "tendency not to abandon tasks from mere changeability and the tendency not to abandon tasks in the face of obstacles."
Angela Duckworth commented in THIS
Ted talk that people who accomplish great things often combine a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission regardless of obstacles.
In order to evaluate this definition of 'grit', Duckworth developed a "Grit Test", posing questions rooted in perseverance, determination, and resiliency.
Have you overcome setbacks to achieve a goal? Do you set a goal and stick to that goal? Do you finish what you begin?
As we enter the final week of the term, students place themselves under significant pressure to perform academically (stay tuned for a post on final assessments next week!), and we must consciously teach our students the importance of not just learning content, but mastering skills that will lead to success in the future.
By walking alongside our students as they face challenges in their life, especially during final exams, we have the opportunity to value grittiness.
How well have we taught our students to persevere, to work through obstacles, and to finish what they start?
If we help each of our students encounter, and learn to navigate, significant academic challenges during the course of the term, we undoubtedly cultivate grittiness in our students.