Educators know that for students to succeed, they must falter at times. They understand that each new lesson and concept must be learned through a process, which includes trial and error until there is success. Character education is important for students to learn to take the good with the bad. It’s as important for students to learn the value of perseverance as any skill being taught in the classroom.
Grit can be developed in anyone. It’s the summation of confidence, drive, and perseverance. Students may not have grit when they enter school, while some may have it inherently. Either way, strengthening their resolve to succeed, even in the face of problems and missteps, can help instil grit.
One way to begin to teach grit is to ask students to define what grit means to them. Once students have put this into their own words, they can start to become aware of when they are employing grit as well as ways to foster grit when they recognize their reactions are the opposite.
Sharing examples of people who have overcome hardships can serve as a model to students to see what happens when someone uses grit. Students can respond to the examples in writing and draw conclusions about what they have learned from other people’s experiences. They can begin to apply those strategies in their own lives.
Teaching students how to reframe their narratives is an essential way to tackle life’s problems. After an assessment, if a student feels they could improve, discuss ways to avoid feeling hopeless and instead look for opportunities to make adjustments like extra help, more studying, or completing ancillary assignments to strengthen base skills. Students need to see their problems as pathways to finding new ways towards success.
Grit is a trait that will help students persevere throughout school and into their working lives. It’s an acceptance that not everything will be easy and it’s okay to struggle. The struggle is an opportunity to find a new way. Giving up isn’t an option. Teaching grit gives students the key to better themselves no matter what.