Learning Strategy for K-12 from QD Learning

What is Grit

Grit is a personal trait. It is passion and perseverance combined to work on long-term goals. Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.

01 - What is grit?

Why it matters?

“Character is at least as important as IQ,” Duckworth says.

Individuals high in grit are able to maintain their determination and motivation over long periods despite experiences with failure and adversity.

Grit seem to be a better indicator to predict successful outcomes in everything from the Scripps National Spelling Bee to graduation from Chicago public schools. Students with grit continuously prevailed over those with high IQs.

Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit

The Grit Scale

Here is the grit scale you can use to find out how gritty you are. There are no right or wrong answers, so just answer honestly, considering how you compare to most people.

Some Grit Stories

In rural New Hampshire, fifth-grade teacher Amy Lyon has created a curriculum based on researcher Angela Duckworth’s ideas about grit. Students set and work toward their own long-term goals, learning valuable lessons about dealing with frustration and distractions along the way.
Teaching Grit Cultivates Resilience and Perseverance

Foster Grit from a Parent's Perspective

Advice from Scholastic

1. Put a challenge in front of him

2. Promote perseverance

3. Be a nudge

4. Welcome boredom and frustration

5. Let him fall — and model resilience

Tactics from CNN

1. Make your kids make their beds

2. Don't pack their camping gear

3. Encourage your kids to solve small problems

4. Praise the effort, not the end result

5. Everyone can learn grit

Tips from Angela Duckworth

  1. Each person in the family should work on at least one hard thing.
  2. we can’t quit in the middle and we can’t quit on a bad day.
05 - What advice would you give to a parent who wanted to cultivate grit in their children?

How to discover your passion?

For Grit, half of the equation is perseverance (most of the advices above is related to this) and the rest is passion. So discovering and developing your passion is equally important. This topic will merit a long post on its own. But Angela Duckworth suggested from her "Grit" book:

  • Ask yourself a few simple questions. "What do I like to think about?" "Where does my mind wander" "What matters most to me" "In contrast, what do I find absolutely unbearable?".
  • Doing it in real world scenarios.

This is an iterative process till you find your passion. We will cover more on this topic in later blogs.

Foster Grit from an Educator's Perspective

  • Model Grit
  • Don't Grade Formative Assessments
  • Authentic Products
  • Ongoing Revision and Reflection
  • Celebrate Success

Even though this is from an educator's perspective, you can still use this advice at home. As a parent,

  • You can model grit for your child. For example, your child thinks swimming is hard. You can walk through how you will deal with this by thinking out loud with your child and give him/her some concrete steps he/she can take.
  • Always praise on the effort and process. Mistakes should be welcomed.
  • Think about real world applications when solving problems.
  • Learning is iterative. Give your child constant feedback.
  • Acknowledge achievement together.

By implementing the above, we will have the opportunity to foster a Grit culture, which ultimately helps reinforce grit related disciplines.

For more information on GRIT

Check out Angela Duckworth's book. It explains what Grit is and why it matters. It also includes how to develop Grit from the inside out (i.e. intrinsically) and from the outside in (from parent, culture, etc). It is a great read. You can find it on Amazon.

Even though Grit gets a lot of attentions and a lot of praises in the media, we should be aware the opposite side of the debate. A lot of them argues Grit is only part of the equation and there are other factors (character and social-economic related) are far more important to determine one's success. Here is a list of articles from Edutopia.

As educators and parents, even with proven best practices, we can't simply adopt everything. Our jobs are to learn then adapt the learnings to our specific situations.


  1. FAQ on what is Grit? from Angela Duckworth's website
  2. Grit (personal trait) from Wikipedia
  3. The Power of Defeat: How to Raise a Kid With Grit from Scholastic
  4. Have our kids gotten soft? Five ways to teach them grit from CNN

  5. 5 Steps to Foster Grit in the Classroom from Edutopia

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