Sunday, May 08, 2016

Grit by Angela Duckworth

Captain America: Civil War opened at movie theaters this weekend.  He has GRIT.  It’s Mother’s Day; mothers have GRIT. Angela Duckworth does, too.  She is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and a 2013 MacArthur Fellow who will be speaking at New Trier this week about her new book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Duckworth will speak on Wednesday, May 11 beginning at 7pm in the Gaffney Auditorium (385 Winnetka Avenue).  This will follow sessions held that day at noon (Loyola University) and 3:30 (Northside College Prep); all are sponsored by Family Action Network and a number of local initiatives.  

Grit tells about Duckworth’s research and her development of the Grit Scale, a better predictor of who would leave and who would stay during West Point’s Beast Barracks than the admissions measure involving grades, physical ability and leadership potential. Her book has three sections; first she explains “what Grit is and why it matters” with other real world examples like turnover and rejection experienced by sales staff or predicting graduation for Chicago Public Schools’ students.  Then, she discusses “growing Grit from the inside out” and finally “growing Grit from the outside in,” including a profile of NFL quarterback Steve Young and his parents’ “tough love.” Duckworth shares interviews with other high achievers and provides a list of recommended reading and extensive research notes. Throughout, she explains that if adults set high expectations and provide support, kids up their game.  Think about the examples in your own teaching or family that you have seen.

A very few quotes and insights from Grit:
“Our potential is one thing.  What we do with it is quite another.”
“Any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal.”
“Grit can be learned, regardless of I.Q. or circumstances.”
To hear more, follow though by attending one of Duckworth’s presentations this week.  
Added May 11:  David Brooks (New York Times) on  "Putting Grit in its Place"