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Developing grit in students appears to be the golden ticket to higher retention and increased student goal attainment.
As we welcome the new semester of 2016, adult education programs enter the new semester with classes full of excited students only to find participation dwindling by mid-February. Grit and the idea of helping students build resiliency sounds like the ideal answer.
Role models and road maps are incredibly important. Helping students become aware of the ‘soft-skills’ needed to be successful in school or the workplace certainly has value in the teaching / learning environment. This is why grit is so widely accepted as the solution. The Grit Scales created by Angela Duckworth turns non-cognitive skills into measurable and teachable outcomes. However, while grit and an open mindset can be a starting point for student / teacher conversations, these ideas do not convey the students’ entire story. Grit fails to take into consideration social, economic, and racial injustice often experineced by students marganized in society.
Grit and an open mindset are not the solution to student retention. Teaching strategies reltated to perseverance can lead to some positive outcomes. The reality of student motivation, perseverance, and goal achievement is a complex combination of grit, emotion, environment, and social justice.
There is no single solution to student retention. Understanding the role of grit and the deliberate development of an open mindest only work when combined with relevant instructionand and advocacy for social justice and an absense of ‘victim blaming’ for students’ who lack the qualities identified as valuable in the grit scale and open mindset.
I have written about the i-Pathways project and its extremely successful use in corrections’ education using an Internet-connected model to provide computer-based instruction to classrooms in 33 facilities throughout the Illinois Department of Corrections. We have since expanded to a county facility in Maryland using that same model and have begun using a new delivery model called Oasis.
Carol Dweck’s book Mindsetis receiving great attention in the areas of adult literacy and student motivation. In her TED Talk, The Power of Believing That You Can Improve, she discusses “the power of yet and tyranny of now.” The difference between these mindsets lead to different student behaviors and outcomes and the gap between achievement widens.
In today’s fiscal climate, educational programs are struggling to continually provide quality services to students. Many programs are attempting to move from traditional fundraising efforts to crowd funding, a fundraising effort used by programs to expand their donor base and raise money from a large number of people. Projects are marketed through the use of online sites. Whle the crowdfunding industry earned $5.1 billion dollars worldwide, the majority of crowdfunding efforts do not reach thier intended goal. Learn more about creating a successful campaign.