Teaching Kids to get “Grittier?”

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/17/290089998/does-teaching-kids-to-get-gritty-help-them-get-ahead

This article is an interesting idea; I like it… but as it says near the end of the article,

“If there’s a problem with how kids are learning, the onus should be on schools to get better at how they teach — not on kids to get better at enduring more of the same.”

Encouraging students to persevere is excellent, I’m all for it; but HOW we do this is key. We shouldn’t invent “rigor” and then watch them flail around trying to make sense of it; are those who finally “get it” actually grittier than those who eventually give up? Or are we creating an elaborate weed-out system and patting ourselves on the back in the process?

If rigor isn’t tiered to meet the students at their current needs and designed to push them to progress at a pace commensurate with their peers and maturation levels, then it is inappropriate. We (as a nation) will lose valuable minds and creativity as more and more buckle under the pressure and drop out.

Can we really teach resilience or grit? It can be nurtured, it can be encouraged, it can be nudged and revealed… but I don’t think it can be taught. As my friend Simon has said to me, trying to teach resilience is like trying to teach compassion, empathy, or patience.

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