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Thursday, August 29, 2013

'Differentiation and Grit': An excerpt from "Fostering Grit" by Thomas R. Hoerr, his forthcoming short-format ASCD Arias publication.


How Do I Prepare My Students for the Real World?

This brief excerpt by Thomas R. Hoerr, describes differentiating not only for academic areas, but for teaching students "grit".  This can only be done at their emotional learning level, the cornerstone of ALL learning.  Hoerr states, "...teaching children how to respond to frustration and failure requires that they experience frustration and failure."

The goal here is to provide learning obstacles that give some level of frustration to the student.  Frustration and fear of failure often keep students away from these tasks.  This can be especially true of "bright" and/or "talented" students.  Their fear of inadequacy can be petrifying.  These tasks can be given through process, content, and/or product.  Then we offer them strategies to handle this frustration to get on to the next part of their current area of work.  As they build the strategies that work for them, so they too build grit.

How do WE respond to frustration and failure?  I believe this must be our first question before we teach grit to anyone else.  Beginning with a growth-mindset (Carol Dweck, Mindset), we can study our own reactions and how we can foster our own grit.  It takes courage.  We would want others to help us through it with care and empathetic responses.  Having been through that self-exploration, we can then offer that same feeling of care, empathy, and eventually trust to our students.  (Brene Brown, Daring Greatly)

Fostering grit is what our future workforce is looking for.  How we respond to frustration and failure is imperative to success and happiness (Daniel Pink, Drive).  It is how we grow both as humans and as a workforce.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?  What's worth doing even if you do fail?  Isn't it worth a try?


'Differentiation and Grit': An excerpt from "Fostering Grit" by Thomas R. Hoerr, his forthcoming short-format ASCD Arias publication.