April 14, 2014

Thoughts on mindset vs. grit

A recent story on NPR caught my attention. The story is about schools teaching "grit" and whether or not it can be done. My introduction to the concept of grit came from a really great episode of This American Life from 2012. Even though grit is only mentioned by name twice in the episode, there was quite a bit of discussion on non-cognitive traits and their importance to learning. My interest in the episode is summed up best by this line:

"Non-cognitive traits like grit and self-control are even more important in college than in high school."

How best to encourage the best non-cognitive traits leading to success in college?  In the NPR piece, Alfie Kohn makes a great point: persistent people persist.

I'm a big believer in the Dweck model of mindsets: fixed vs. growth mindsets. I work to cultivate growth mindsets in my students. It's not easy. It would be great to add grit to my student's toolbox of tools to use for success in college. I watched Duckworth's TED talk hoping she would have some research to present that would be useful for me to use with my students. Here's her TED talk:

If you watched the talk, you may have noticed that the only research cited was Dweck's work on mindset! The talk is over a year old, so maybe there is new work on grit that I'm not aware of.

I spent a lot of time thinking about these questions over the last few weeks. How can mindset be such a solid concept and grit sound great but have easy criticisms?

Leave it to Dr. Tae to answer my questions in less than 140 characters:
Simple, right? There's nothing WRONG with encouraging grit. It's just not as effective as building the growth mindset. Thanks, Tae!

No comments: