Expectations – Gritty Students!

Direct link to TED video

Traditionally at the beginning of a school year teachers discuss their expectations of their students, I am going to completely change my emphasis this year and talk to my students about being gritty! It seems to me that for gritty students the often quoted expectations about listening carefully, always bringing a calculator, handing in homework on time,……the list goes on (and on ..) become statements of the obvious!

You can hear Angela Duckworth’s definition of grit in her TED talk, to quote her:
Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

How gritty are you?! 

How do we develop gritty students? Certainly the answer to that is not obvious. Angela Duckworth refers to Carol Dweck’s work, something we take very seriously at our school. We need to develop a “growth mindset” in our students; they need to understand that their ability to learn is not fixed but something they can change through their attitude and effort.You can hear Carol Dweck talking about teachers and coaches developing a growth mindset in their students in this interview with Basketball School. Some points she made struck a chord with me:  for teachers to develop a growth mindset in their students they need to develop their own growth mindset; do we ever judge our students too quickly? Also, such a useful reminder that we may sometimes worry too much about ‘teaching to the test’ when we just need to remember that ‘The outcomes are natural byproducts of engaging in good practice’.

For more on a growth mindset see this very clear article by Michael Graham Richard using excellent illustrations by Nigel Holmes which he worked with Carol Dweck on (look at that website – there’s a man who knows about design!) and Vickie Schafer’s presentation:

Angela Duckworth’s closing remarks seems the perfect ending to this post!

“In other words we need to be gritty about getting our kids grittier”

Gritty Students