Sunday, September 18, 2011

Learning, failure, and character

A somewhat misleadingly titled article on efforts to inculcate elements of good character in private- and charter-school students: What if the Secret to Success Is Failure? (New York Times). Those elements include what psychology professor Angela Duckworth calls “grit,” perseverance despite adversity. You can test your grit via her Grit Scale.

When I think of grit and its opposite, I think of students’ reactions to low grades on their first essays in freshman comp. Some students realize that they need to work much harder on their writing, and do so. Others simply drop the course.

A few related posts
Andrew Sullivan on self-esteem
Good advice from Rob Zseleczky
The inverse power of praise
John Holt on learning and difficulty

[Elaine and I each scored 4.4 of 5 on the Grit Scale. Scoring the test, as she points out, requires a bit of grit.]

comments: 2

Elaine said...

Raising children and writing a book both take a lot of grit--not to mention losing weight and gaining fitness.

If I score myself in relation to quilting, however, I get a lower score (3.9) because I have multiple projects at any one time and complete them in leisurely fashion. (One hand-quilting project is coming up on 10 years--though I am working on it these days.)

Elaine said...

How funny that this has come up. I found an address for my (long-retired) freshman comp teacher at Young Harris College, thinking I ought to write her. My first essay (on a topic I found utterly boring) garnered a D. It was quite a shock to my system! (I'd never gotten a D in my life til then.) I buckled down after that, you can bet.

I think I'll write her this week!