Got Grit? How to Teach Perseverance

By: Valparaiso Community Schools Last Updated: December 6, 2016

Haley-CribbsThere is a new buzzword in education today: grit. Angela Lee Duckworth defines grit as having perseverance and passion for long-term goals. The teachers and staff at Hayes Leonard Elementary are working to help ingrain this quality within our students. So what steps can be taken at home to help your child be gritty?

Something as simple as talking with your child about difficulties or mistakes he or she may have encountered throughout the day will lend itself into a teachable moment that mistakes are, in fact, an opportunity for learning and growing. It is also important to be specific and genuine when praising your child’s effort.

In addition, we need to teach our children to embrace a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. It is essential to constantly remind your children that they have the ability to grow their intelligence by persisting through challenges and learning new things.

When children are presented with a difficult task, it is important for them to use positive words and phrases. Often times we hear children say, “This is too hard. I can’t do this!” Instead, we need to guide them to change their phrasing into something like, “I can’t do this yet, but I will keep working at it.” Something as simple as monitoring and changing a child’s dialogue will help them to develop a growth mindset.

Last, we must teach our children that failure is not only normal but encouraged — yes, encouraged. Without failure, children are unable to learn from their mistakes and void themselves of the opportunity to allow for their brains to make new connections and grow stronger. If a child is able to experience failure firsthand, without an adult stepping in to save the day, it will teach them how to eventually persevere through a challenge.

The goal here is to support and teach children to embrace challenges when they arise, learn from mistakes and feedback, become inspired by the successes of others, and, possibly the most important, to teach our children that their intelligence is not fixed. In fact, they have the ability to change their intelligence with hard work and effort. So ask yourself... got grit?