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Day 09/05/2013

{ grit } Angela Duckworth on the Need to Rethink…* Our Assumptions About What It Takes To Do Well in School & Life

“What we need in education is a much better understanding of students and learning from a motivational perspective from a psychological perspective. In education the one thing we know how to measure best is IQ. But what if doing well in school and in life depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?”

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Enjoy this brilliantly insightful and pithy TED talk by  Angela Duckworth, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, whose research centers on non-IQ competencies, including self-control and grit, that predict success both academically and professionally. In her talk, Duckworth focuses on the critical importance of grit to both successful learning and living, encouraging us to rethink our assumptions about which characteristics positively influence our potential. Highlighting Carol Dweck‘s research on growth mindset as the most effective idea for building grit in students that she’s encountered thus far, Duckworth does not shy away from stating how much work remains to be done in uncovering and designing tools and processes by which to build grit in ourselves and our students. “In other words, we need to be gritty about getting our kids grittier.”

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{ highlights }

“[…] In all these different contexts, one characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success and it wasn’t social intelligence, it wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.”

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in and 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.”

“So far, the best idea I’ve heard about building grit in kids is something called “growth mindset”. This is an idea developed at Stanford University by Carol Dweck and it is the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed, that it can change with your effort. Dr. Dweck has shown that when kids read and learn about the brain and how it changes and grows in response to challenges, they’re much more likely to persevere when they fail because they don’t believe that failure is a permanent condition.”

“So growth mindset is a great idea for building grit, but we need more. And that’s where I’m going to end my remarks, because that’s where we are, that’s the work that stands before us. We need to take our best ideas, our strongest intuitions and we need to test them. We need to measure whether we’ve been successful and we have to be willing to fail, to be wrong, to start over again with lessons learned. In other words, we need to be gritty about getting our kids grittier.”

Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit ~ via TED.com, published May 9, 2013

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