Harnessing The Power of Perseverance
Nov 10, 2017
Just about everyone who knows today’s students can agree: not all students follow the same predictable patterns when it comes to learning.
Some students seem to easily score well on tests right from the get-go, while others need to put in a little more effort and try a few more times. In the long run, however, how easy academics may come to each student initially doesn’t really seem to impact that student’s potential for long-term individual success. In fact, those individuals who struggle may even end up doing better than their peers. In the long run. Interesting how that works.
One popular theory for this phenomenon may actually involve something much more potent, if less quantifiable than numbers - a quality called “grit.”
It’s Good To Be "Gritty"
In a 2013 TED talk called "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance," educator Angela Lee Duckworth describes how “grit” offers insight into a student’s ability to persevere - that is, bounce back from failure with lessons learned, ready to take on challenges with renewed passion for greater success down the road.
Overcoming adversity is a significant and valuable life lesson. “Gritty” students know how to accept failure and keep on swinging until they reach their goals.
Rather than seeing failure as inevitable or unavoidable, children can be coached to view challenges and failures as stepping stones along the road to success… as opportunities, rather than setbacks. Encouraging perseverance through difficult patches allows students to see that failure is part of the natural process that leads to personal growth and may, indeed, be the one most necessary to support success.
For parents, the thought of seeing a child get upset over failure can be daunting, and first instinct might be to steer students away long before that failure is reached. We call these “Curling Parents” for their need to sweep away all adversity their child may face. But letting students learn from their failures, develop some “grit,” and find the solution they’ve been looking for on their own, can prove hugely valuable for taking on challenges later in life.
Turning Losses Into Even Greater Wins
At World Academy, we’ve always believed in the power of students to overcome failure, and in the power of setbacks to offer valuable teaching moments to help build self-confidence.
Rather than simply relegating “poor-performing” students to less challenging tasks, we encourage students to take risks and seek success even at the risk of failure. That way, students don’t just learn how to succeed, but why they succeeded, and how to replicate that success in other aspects of theirstudies and life. This is an incredible life skill which will continue to support your child throughout life.
It’s that perseverance to push through failure, and to find success as a result of personal effort, that helps shape healthy, dedicated students. By comfortably confronting the prospect of failure and pushing through until that failure is overcome, students build critical skills they will need to adapt and succeed throughout their time at school and well into their future careers.
An old sports saying offers one helpful bit of advice: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Children who are encouraged to take shots, catch the rebound, and keep shooting until they score, will develop into confident, enthusiastic learners.
It’s all about perseverance - because failure doesn’t have to be permanent. For many students, it’s simply one important step on their roadmap to success.