While working to achieve our goals and aspirations, we will inevitably hit roadblocks or become faced with uncertainties and hardships. In the classroom, both students and educators are balancing busy schedules, managing endless to-do lists, and making constant considerations while processing new information. One of the common threads that keeps us all motivated and moving forward in the right direction is grit. Defined as “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” (Duckworth, 2007), grit is associated with consistently working hard and persevering in the face of challenges to pursue our interests and dreams, despite shortcomings, failures, or lulls in progress. Luckily, we’re not born with a finite amount of grit. Instead, we can learn to develop grit and practice grit as a skill.
Fostering Grit in the Classroom
Research shows that individuals with more grit, or a highly-developed ability to persevere through challenges, are more likely to succeed in academic, social-emotional, and workplace settings (Duckworth, 2007). For example, when someone has built up the stamina to execute a long-term goal—they have more “grit” as an individual. Someone who practices grit stays the course, with sustained commitment, and accepts setbacks as a part of the learning process. Adopting this persevering, positive mindset in a classroom can be challenging for students, especially if they are doubting their ability to learn. That’s why grit and growth mindset are intrinsically linked. Grit and growth mindset both show us that success is not determined by innate ability or traits, but instead is developed through hard work and determination (Dweck et al., 2014). When students can move away from having a fixed mindset and remain open to new information and situations as they present themselves, they are more likely to experience long-term success.
Not only does perseverance and an open mindset matter to imbue grit into our routines, but meaning making as well. When we create small ways to make our goals more purposeful, there is an increase in satisfaction, and we’re more likely to remain open-minded along the way (Duckworth, 2007). This showcases how grit and growth mindset complement each other, and helps both educators implement curricula and learners meet their goals despite challenges. When instilling resilience and persistence in our students, it’s important to normalize mistakes and help them to reap the benefits of both growth mindset and grit as they work together.