Fostering Grit: How do I prepare my students for the real world?

For too long, educators have focused only on getting students ready for the next test, for the next grade, for graduation, or maybe for college.

Students must be prepared to succeed in school, and they must know how to read, write, and calculate. But that’s only the beginning.

Our job—whether we teach kindergarten, 5th grade, or high school or we lead a school or district—is to prepare students for success in the real world. To do so, we must also teach grit.

Grit is a combination of tenacity and perseverance—a willingness to take risks even if it means sometimes failing and starting again. Knowing how to respond to frustration and failure is essential whether a student struggles or excels.

Veteran school leader and popular Educational Leadership columnist Thomas R. Hoerr shows what teaching for grit looks like and provides a sample lesson plan and self-assessments, along with a six-step process applicable across grade levels and content areas to help students build skills they need to succeed in school and in life.


Success is significantly propelled by three simple qualities open to anyone. The way to develop this package of qualities—not that it’s easy, or that everyone would want to—is through grit. It requires turning the ability to work hard, to persevere and to overcome adversity into a source of personal superiority. This kind of superiority complex isn’t ethnically or religiously exclusive. It’s the pride a person takes in his own strength of will.

Any Chua and Jed Rubenfeld
The New York Times


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