The Department for Education (DfE) wants to make England a global leader in teaching character, resilience and grit to students. Our latest digest (Spring 2015) explores what we mean when we talk about young people showing character, resilience and perseverance (often referred to as ‘grit’). It is important to understand these characteristics because they are significant, not just for educational outcomes but also beyond education, particularly in relation to employment, where they are often referred to as ‘soft skills’. But there is nothing soft about them, and like any habit of mind, they can be taught and cultivated. Researchers have found that that perseverance leads to effective academic behaviours such as attending class, doing homework, engaging in classroom activities, and studying and that these behaviours appear to be most closely related to academic success. It is also claimed that self-control is far more predictive of educational achievement in the longer term than IQ. Furthermore, resilience and perseverance have also been shown to be highly important in securing employment and sustaining one’s employability. In our digest we identify strategies for successfully developing and teaching resilience and perseverance as expansive habits of mind, and provide examples from schools and colleges.
Dr Janet Hanson
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