Statistics shows that throughout school years every child experiences different phases of anxiety and one in eight students in America suffers from some kind of anxiety disorder. Fostering grit in students, helping them become more resilient is extremely important.
Kids worry about all kinds of things, not only school-related work, however, homework, assignments, evaluations and expectations play a significant role in how students perceive the world around them and their own role in it.
According to Child Mind Institute when math is brought up, two opinions prevail: math is important and math is hard. This combination can definitely cause more stress for students who consider themselves not particularly good in math and for those students who over the years have had no issues figuring math out but consider even a small mistake a failure.
The world we live in is extremely competitive, both academically and skills wise. Today’s students need to be experts in many dimensions and develop skills (both hard and soft ones) that will help them to successfully perform in various settings (school, job, sports, online environment, peer circle, etc).
It makes sense for adults to help students develop resiliency to stressful situations and foster grit. Both teachers and parents can give children the necessary tools to become prepared for the challenges they might encounter and not feel discouraged, but instead persevere and work through them towards the desirable result.
One of the great approaches to help students develop grit and move past the “I cannot do it” attitude is the Growth Mindset, developed by Carol Dweck, a psychologist. Growth Mindset shifts the “I cannot do it” to “I cannot do it YET”, which in its turn changes the perception of the student to the task at hand. Carol Dweck emphasizes that our success depends on our perception of the task and of our ability to do certain things, thus it is important to help students move past the fixed perception to a growth perception, where they realize that their perseverance, hard work, their positive attitude and their organization are what matters most and what makes them successful, versus such fixed traits as talent or intelligence.
Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, has been studying grit and its effect on how successful students are. She realized that IQ was not the only predictor of student success, but that sticking to a plan and persistently working towards the goal – which is what grit is – played a major role.
Parents can play a significant role in fostering grit in their children. Encouragement and doing activities together, leading by example are some of the ways that parents can help their kids build up grit, stamina and become successful. Organizing an appropriate level math competition at home, setting up a weekly plan of activities, encouraging to complete a task on time are just some of the examples of the support parents can provide to their children. As a result, grit becomes a way of life and transforms into success in a variety of areas and settings.
What is extremely important, though, is to remember that building a child’s confidence and fostering grit in students is not just blindly telling them they are doing a great job, but helping them recognize their weaknesses, realize that they can improve on those weaknesses, helping them develop the necessary skills to achieve success.
One of the easiest ways to inspire students to persevere, think positively and foster grit in them is to share inspirational grit quotes. There is a very large number of quotes out there that could be printed or written on the whiteboard/chalkboard everyday for students to read.
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Classroom Strategies to Foster Grit
- Adopt a Growth Mindset yourself and teach it to your students
- Encourage students to take risks
- Promote organization and time-management
- Talk to your students, analyze together and teach them the importance of going back and reflecting on weaknesses, mistakes and successes
- Allow opportunity for mistakes, give formative assessments
- Provide timely and constructive feedback
- Encourage positive thinking and attitude
- Praise your students when they deserve it
- Help your students set daily and long-term goals by doing short classroom goal setting and reflecting activities
- Offer a variety of aids and resources, both online and off-line