Author of a best-selling book on the topic, Angela Duckworth defines ‘grit’ as ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals’. Qualities like courage, resilience, and strength of character are difficult to quantify; but with research showing that a student’s decision to drop out of university can be related to self-esteem and resilience, it’s useful to think about whether grit is something we can help to develop.
The first year of higher education can be a precarious time and, by this point in the term, most students will recognise they must knuckle down and adapt to new ways of working if they are to succeed. The extent to which grit can be taught is debatable, but some tutors actively work to develop independence, resilience and confidence through teaching and learning strategies. Some, for instance, encourage the use of reflective tools, like Individual Learning Plans (ILPs), that help students evaluate different learning strategies, consider progress and identify areas for development. Students report that this can also help with motivation as learning is tracked over time.
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