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Teacher Excellence Initiative

The Nation is Beginning to Recognize the Importance of Grit in Education

It's not enough to recognize it; schools must learn to teach it
By Eric Celeste |
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I kinda-moderated (mostly just stayed out of the way) a panel yesterday morning for D Academy at North Dallas High School. The discussion focused broadly on challenges facing Dallas ISD. Trustee Mike Morath gave an overview of the many slings and arrows of outrageous fortune the district faces every day, while Milan Sevak gave an overview of TEI and discussed the challenges in evaluating teachers. A few times, the word “grit” was discussed, as it always is when reform-minded educators talk about transforming large poor urban districts.

I wrote about grit a few months ago, but I wanted to point you toward two national stories dealing with grit that came out this past week. One is found at the new outstanding online site Vox, and one you can read in New York magazine. (NY is not just a magazine about New York; it’s one of the best national magazines left.) The first article is very well summarized by its title: ” Grit might be more important than IQ. Now schools need to learn to teach it.” The takeaway is found in the first paragraph:

Being smart in school isn’t enough. The focus has turned to whether students have grit — whether they can keep going in the face of setbacks to achieve long-term goals.

The New York mag article is a more personal look at how the author learned the meaning of grit in relation to football. (The article itself is a defense of football against claims the sport is too violent, a stance I hold no opinion on.) The author’s exploration of how and why he overcame his fear of being hurt — how he learned grit, is the way he put it on Twitter — is worthwhile context. Or you can just go read a copy of the book True Grit, which the D Academy folks gave to us. I now have two, so I’ll lend you one if you need it.

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