Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Success in the 21 Century Requires Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance

Beyond knowledge and skills, what assets will students need in the coming years? According to a draft report by the U.S. Department of Education, they will need grit, tenacity, and perseverance. Although the report focuses on very young people and adolescents, its conclusions certainly apply to our students as well. Here is a link to the lengthy report. And here are its definitions of its key terms:

Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest

over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty

individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is

stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to

change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.


Academic tenacity is about the mindsets and skills that allow students:

• To look beyond short-term concerns to longer-term or higher-order goals, and

• To withstand challenges and setbacks to persevere toward these goals.


Academic perseverance refers to a student’s tendency to complete school

assignments in a timely and thorough manner, to the best of one’s ability, despite

distractions, obstacles, or level of challenge…To persevere academically requires

that students stay focused on a goal despite obstacles (grit or persistence) and

forego distractions or temptations to prioritize higher pursuits over lower pleasures

(delayed gratification, self-discipline, self-control).


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