Grit may be as essential as talent to high accomplishment. Angela Duckworth
Whilst listening to an RSA podcast on creativity the keynote speaker sign posted the work of Angela Duckworth and her investigations into adherence or ‘grit.’ I added a post-it note to my monitor and focused on my todo list. Three days later I started to curate the resources and reflected I what I was learning about Angela Duckworth’s work. If you are a parent, teacher or school leader, you really should take a look. It will definitely leave you askings questions on how and where you can use this knowledge to support your child or students.
So grit, the pursuit of specific long-term goal. Doing whatever it takes until the goal has been reached, Frank Bruno summed it up perfectly a few posts ago. Talent alone is not enough, determination is a vital ingredient. What Duckworth’s reserach implies, is that determination may in fact be more important than talent, certainly in the big scheme of things.
Much of Duckworth’s research has been supported by United States Army, as it searches for accurate ways to identifying who is best suited for the stress of the battlefield. And I can not think of any other place ‘grit’ would be more highly valued than on the battle field. West Point, the elite military academy, loses approximately 5 percent of cadets following the first summer of training each year. Who adheres to the programme and who drops out is one of their key foci. The Army has long sifted and searched for the best predictor cadet drop out, but it wasn’t until Duckworth tested the cadets of the 2008 West Point class for ‘grit’ that the Army finally found an accurate measure of retention. Duckworth has since repeated the survey with subsequent West Point classes, the result is always the same, the gritty cadets graduate, not the smartest, nor the fitness, but those with the most grit that made it through. Wider research also showed that more determined undergraduates garnered higher grade point averages than their smarter peers and the best spelling-bee participants, were the “grittiest,” outranking their less tenacious, if smarter, competitors. What is most important to underline here is, grit is not yoked to IQ. Grit is a trait all of its own.
Nobody is talented enough to not have to work hard, and that’s what grit allows you to do. Angela Duckworth
So, to the questions.
- How to measure grit?
- How to apply this knowledge to our education setting?
- I would like to see if there is a link between grit and our students achivement?
- What can we do to develop grit?
Sadly, I know these questions are important, I accept that they may go unanswered as I myself my be gritty and focus on my job responsibilities. It is a shame, as I honestly believe that exploring this trait could impact on student self-efficacy and achivement. That gathering grit scores may better focus revision or mentor groups and even teaching groups.
I am pleased to tell you that there is a free Grit Survey. Register and its as simple as 20+ questions.
I don’t think anyone’s figured out how to make people smarter, but these other qualities of grit may be teachable. Angela Duckworth
Out of coureousity I ask a handful of Year 11 students to take the grit survey. Thoses students meeting their target grades scored higher than those under performing according to the FFTD predicted grades. Whilst that in itself is not surprising, what if we knew their grit score before they started the course?