Does Teaching Kids To Get “Gritty” Help Them Get Ahead?

gritmistakes

Reposted from npr Ed:

Tom Hoerr leads the New City School, a private elementary school in St. Louis that has also been working on grit. “One of the sayings that you hear around here a great deal is, ‘If our kids have graduated from here with nothing but success, then we have failed them, because they haven’t learned how to respond to frustration and failure.’ ”

After years of focusing on the theory known as “multiple intelligences” and trying to teach kids in their own style, Hoerr says he’s now pulling kids out of their comfort zones intentionally. “The message is that life isn’t always easy,” Hoerr says. His goal is to make sure “that no matter how talented [students are], they hit the wall, so they can learn to pick themselves up, hit the wall again and pick themselves up again, and ultimately persevere and succeed.”It is a major adjustment for everyone — perhaps most of all for parents. “It’s really easy to talk about in the abstract,” Hoerr says. “Parents love the notion of grit; they all want their kids to have it. However … no parent wants their kid to cry.”

The focus is always more on putting out effort than on getting the right answers. Teachers have been trained to change the way they see students, and how they speak to them. Kids no longer hear “You’re so smart!” or “Brilliant!” Rather, teachers praise students for their focus and determination. “You must have worked really hard!” or “To have performed this well, you must have put out a lot of effort.” The adjustment isn’t always easy for teachers trained to focus on hitting high scores on standardized tests. “It’s really hard in certain subject areas to say that your process is more important than your product,” says science teacher Nicole Trubnikov. “But that is the underlying principle of this program — to say that it’s all the effort that you put in that’s most important.”

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Why Is Innovation So Hard?

Office life

Reposted from Forbes:

“Our educational system and most work environments have taught us that good performance means avoiding failure, not making mistakes. This is a big problem, because failure is an unavoidable part of innovation experimentation. Innovation requires the willingness to fail and learn. Abraham Maslow, one of the founders of the humanistic psychology movement, aptly stated that an individual would engage in learning only “to the extent he is not crippled by fear and to the extent he feels safe enough to dare.”

This means that in order to innovate we need to change our attitude toward failures and mistakes. Contrary to what many of us have been taught, avoiding failure is not a sign that we’re smart. Being smart is not about knowing all the answers and performing flawlessly. Being smart is knowing what you don’t know, prioritizing what you need to know, and being very good at finding the best evidence-based answers. Being smart requires you to become comfortable saying, “I don’t know.”  It means that you do not identify yourself by your ideas but by whether you are an open-minded, good critical and innovative thinker and learner.

Creating a “big new” or a “big different” for your business requires innovative thinking, and innovative thinking requires the right kind of organizational environment. That is why innovation is so hard.”

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