Although we know a great deal about the factors that contribute to student achievement, we also know that student success isn’t purely reductive: students who have every advantage can still fail, and conversely, students with the odds stacked firmly against them are often capable of prodigious success.

But what is it about some students that leads them to succeed in the face of overwhelming challenges? As we note in our latest Educational Leadership column, it may be as simple as grit. Grit, or resilience, is made up of a combination of factors, including goal-directedness, motivation, self-control, and positive mindset, that come together to create persistence in the face of challenges. Though grit may seem difficult to define (and is less easily influenced than curriculum, instruction, and the school environment), there’s an increasing recognition of its importance. Thankfully, there are things that we can do in the classroom to support the development of grit. Read about them here.

6a010536aec25c970b019aff13f5af970d
Bryan Goodwin is chief operating officer at McREL. In addition to co-authoring The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day, he wrote Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success.

6a010536aec25c970b019aff732e08970bKirsten Miller is a lead consultant at McREL and a coauthor of the upcoming Classroom Instruction That Works With English Language Learners, 2nd edition, due out in November.

One Comment

  • Mariama Moody says:

    Hi!
    This was a great posting and I thank you for the links you posted that provided further elaboration. As I’ve progressed through my twelve years of teaching, I have noticed that my students lack the internal drive to succeed. In fact, my peers and I were just discussing things we could do as a team to help our students set and achieve their goals. We even had them take a career survey to help them start making goals for the future. I believe the main reason why I have been successful as a teacher is because I’ve taught my students to first persevere, and then focus on learning math. Self-discipline and intrinsic motivation can be hard to teach a high school freshman, but it is possible!! Thanks again for your post!

Leave a Reply