Developing Grit in the Classroom

Developing Grit in the Classroom In his much-referenced book How Children Succeed, author Paul Tough draws on dozens of studies that point to perseverance, "grit," and other non-cognitive skills as critical factors in students' success. At the same time, researchers like James Heckman of the University of Chicago have demonstrated that living in poverty can affect children's development of these skills. What role do you think traits like grit play in academic achievement? What steps are you taking in your classroom this year to help high-needs students to build such non-cognitive skills? What steps do you think administrators should take? Policymakers?

Cheryl Suliteanu "The Heckman Equation" is a simple one: "Make greater investments in young children to see greater returns in education, health, and productivity." When something seems so simple, it can be frustrating how hard it is to convince others of its worth. Policymakers need to recognize that children are not responsible for the conditions of their birth, and should not be held accountable for their parents' mistakes. The best way to interrupt the cycle of poverty is to support children's physical, socio-emotional, and educational needs. When children are hungry or sad or scared, they cannot develop positive relationships, grow ...


Dave Orphal At the Center for Teaching Quality Advisory Board meeting this past summer, I heard my colleague Renee Moore comment, "I know that education is the road to a better life, but why is it that in some neighborhoods, that road is so full of potholes?" I was intrigued by her analogy about education being the road to success. I thought back to my own childhood, growing up in a suburban community near San Francisco. In my home town, all of the roads, literal and figurative, were well paved, well lit, and safe. Literally, on the drives, lanes, and ...


Darnell Fine James Heckman, proponent of non-cognitive skills, states that, "The family is the major source of human inequality in American society." Likewise, according to Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, middle-class parents that teach their children these non-cognitive skills produce "successful" results both in education and in life. The suggestion is clear: Because the lower-class deviates from middle-class culture, the education gap persists. Those affected by the problem are assumed to be the matrix of the problem, and proponents of non-cognitive skills choose the ideological blue pill of victim blaming. ...


Alison Wright Last week, I gave a short 10-question quiz in my Algebra 2 class. Student A and Student B both received a score of 6/10. Student A looked at the paper, rolled her eyes, threw the quiz on the floor, and loudly complained that the assessment was unfair and "shouldn't count." Student B, on the other hand, read my comments, reworked the problems to find her mistakes, and then after class asked to set up an after-school meeting so we could go over the assessment together and discuss her study habits. Both students made the same grade, but ...


The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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