Student Grit

Student grit and how to increase it

Student grit is still an important factor when it comes to student achievement. Obviously students who are lacking in this area are capable of succeeding. It simply means that they don’t have enough positive experience working through the Learning Cycle. The Learning Cycle represents everything students must do in order to master an objective, standard, skill or expectation. The Learning Cycle requires that students put forth purposeful engagement, inquire, persist, and learn from failure. These requirements represent the grit that students have to exhibit in order to have a positive experience in The Learning Cycle. What makes a teachers work in this area challenging is that some students have to spend more time in The Learning Cycle in order to come out of it with positive results. Many students view this as a something to be embarrassed about. As a result, their effort is compromised or they avoid putting in effective effort. Please see below for 5 researched-proven (Source at the bottom) ways to increase grit. I have included steps you can take to apply the tips to increase student grit:

1. Pursue what interests you: If you don’t care, you’re not going to stick to it.

I constantly taught my students that in life, you do what you have to now so that you can do what you want to in the future. Not everything in every class is going to interest students. But as a leader, you should remind students of their interest in pursuing what interests them. The only thing standing in their way are certain obligations that can’t easily be explained or justified. For example, a student who wants to be a chef has to take so many credits of a foreign language in order to graduate. We as adults may be able to come up with a reasonable explanation, the student still may not understand. Do your best to help them see the big picture so that they care about what they are doing to get there.

2. Practice, practice, practice: It’s not just how you get to Carnegie Hall. We love doing things we’re good at.

I had to use a lot of energy to get my students to study. I found that a lot of my students simply didn’t appreciate the benefit of practice. They wanted to do other things with their time. I shared with them what I learned from Outliers: The Story of success by Malcolm Gladwell. In order to be excellent at something, it takes 10,000 hours of practice. I used this to prove the point that they needed to cherish practice and repetition in the classroom. Success in my classroom for them didn’t require 10,000 hours, but they needed to make an investment of time and effort.

3. Find purpose: How does what you do help others? That’s what makes a job into a calling.

Every person has a purpose in life. It takes time to find it. As a leader, your job is to engage students about their purpose and help them see how what they do today helps them get closer to their purpose. When students know their purpose, it takes less energy to get them to engage and give effort. The wonderful thing about life is that when people find their purpose, it makes the world a better place for everyone.

4. Have hope: No “wishing on a star” here, pal. Have hope because you are going to make it happen.

Hope is a positive expectation as a result of hard work. Without hope, effort can seem meaningless. Engage students about their level of hope. Help them to see the reasons why they should have hope or how they can build it by taking necessary steps.

5. Join a gritty group: Mom was right; spend time with slackers and you’ll be a slacker.

I always would tell students to find other like-minded, driven, positive people who could help them stay on the right path. This group of people help to ensure that they make good decisions on their path to their purpose.

What tips do you have to increase student grit? Leave them in the comments section.


Source: Baker, Eric. “5 Research-backed Ways to Increase Grit.” The Week – All You Need to Know about Everything That Matters. N.p., 16 May 2016. Web. 01 Feb. 2018.

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