What are the secrets of so-called high performing students? There is a lecture I want to introduce that has an answer to this question. This lecture also gives a good idea of what I learned to value from my own teaching experience.
Angela Lee Duckworth, who had left her management consulting job to become a 7th grade math teacher, wondered about the common characteristics of students with high academic achievement. To find the answer, she entered graduate school and started her research on the subject. Based on the results, she presents one common feature of successful people, Grit.
“I was firmly convinced that every one of my students could learn the material if they worked hard and long enough.”
Angela briefly describes the characteristics of successful students as above. Although this part passes by very quickly in the speech, I believe this summarizes the essence of grit very well. Any student can learn and master the curriculum if they work hard and long enough. Simply put, you do it till you make it.
Of course, it is easier said than done. In reality, it is actually quite difficult to keep your hard work going for years to achieve a long-term goal. People naturally feel discouraged and often give up when faced with failure. For this reason, there is a lot of interest in how to grow resilience and grit so that we can keep ourselves spirited. One of the theories is ‘Growth Mindset’ researched by Dr. Carol Dweck from Stanford University. This theory states that one’s brain can grow and improve as it goes through various challenges. In other words, an individual’s learning capability is not innately fixed, but rather has the potential to grow as it gets exposed to many different challenges. Therefore, students, who have learned their brain capacity could expand, can accept more difficult challenges and do not easily get discouraged when encountered with failure. They believe their failure is not an invariable permanent state, but rather a chance to grow themselves.
I will discuss more about my own experience with my students regarding growth mindset and grit in another article. Until then, however, let me end this article by summarizing what I strongly believe through my teaching experience that is well-aligned with this TED speech.
Great students are great because they try until they’re great. If they’re smart, the process can be easier. If they’re not, it can be a bit harder. The most important thing is, you do it till you make it.
In short, it’s not over until it’s over. Never give up.