Teaching Perseverance and Resilience

Paul Tough’s best-seller, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, dramatically underscores what cognitive psychologists like Carol Dweck and Angela Duckworth have found in their research: that character—not cognition—is central to success and that character can be taught. Terms like growth mindset, perseverance, and resilience have entered the vocabulary of educators everywhere.

Used together, the five resources listed here can help teachers operationalize these words and wrestle with questions like: What is the importance of grit and other key character traits that support learning? How might schools develop and assess them?

Can Perseverance Be Taught? –  Angela Lee Duckworth – ARTICLE
True Grit: Teaching character skills in the classroom – NBC News – VIDEO
KIPP Character Report Card and Supporting Materials – Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) – TOOL
Five Steps to Make Failure Your Friend – Unstuck.com – ARTICLE
Building Study Skills: A Four Step Plan – Marsha Ratzel – ARTICLE

Audience: Educators

Potential Use: Professional development – self-guided or group
Educators can explore these five resources on their own or as a group as part of a professional development workshop.

Sample: Possible Professional Development Offering

In a cohort, educators:

  1. Read the Duckworth article on perseverance and discuss the questions provided at the end.
  2. Watch a clip from Brian Williams’s approximately 9-minute NBC story on grit, featuring Dave Levin of KIPP and Dominic Randolph of Riverdale Country School, with interviews with KIPP students talking about what it means to develop character.
  3. Examine the KIPP character report card—along with its 24 character strengths—and discuss implications for helping their own students develop persistence.
  4. Review the “5 Steps to Make Failure Your Friend” and download the Failure Analysis Checklist (at unstock.com).

How does this align with student-centered learning research and practice?

The lessons explored in this “resource bundle” align most closely with the research found in the Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice paper, as well as the Mind, Brain, and Education paper. These multimedia resources unpack how to empower teachers and students to give learners the ability to take learning into their own hands and foster a growth-oriented learning environment – connecting them to the SATC framework, especially personalized learning and student owned learning.

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