Grit

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ku_alum, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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  3. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I listened to this on the way home from work today. I think it makes some interesting points. I do think perseverance is an important skill for students to have. I also thought it made a good point about middle school being a time when many students who easily got good grades in elementary suddenly have to work had and then they feel stupid and bad about themselves when all of a sudden they're not "smart" anymore.
     
  4. Pashtun

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    What do you think changes in Middle School?

    Interesting how it "seems" to be perceived that they have to work harder in middle school?
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    It's not "seems". They do have to work harder in middle school, just as they have to work harder in high school than they do in middle school.

    The gap between elementary and middle school is a wide one. The work they're expected to do takes them closer to a high school level, and the depth of understanding they're expected to have is much greater than in elementary.

    Middle schools are not always 'cored' so they get their first taste at having different teachers for every hour of the day.

    For most, middle school is when the work actually begins to become challenging, and just sitting back and relying on the background information they've accumulated from their early years in a wealthy family who could visit museums and parents who enforced educational programming, won't take them anywhere anymore. They begin to NEED study skills.

    Add to that the challenges they face simply getting through the first few years of puberty and the development of independence and starting to test their boundaries, and it's basically a mess.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    As a response to the podcast, the "Mindset" movement is something that I've been working at for a while now.

    At the beginning of the year, I devoted almost two weeks to it, and I got nothing but positive reviews from the students and parents. However, as the podcast mentioned, simply teaching it once and not really coming back to it is not going to elicit much of a change, and students and myself find ourselves falling back into old habits. We pay lip-service to the idea but parents still mostly care that their kids are getting good grades, and some kids will still shut down when they get a bad test score.

    I looked into the Brainology thing, and I'm not certain that it's any better than something I could develop myself, but it also doesn't seem like it continues to branch further into the year, and only stays within one unit.

    I need strategies to continuously come back to Mindset, somehow make it a classroom culture that is constantly being rehashed and referred to, and build it into the nature of all of my procedures, assessments, and even grading.
     
  7. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What is more challenging about the work in middle school? Can you give specific examples of what this means say in terms of math?

    If what you are describing is true, that middle school is far more challenging than elementary, and high school is far more challenging than middle school, then aren't we failing to prepare them for the next level?

    Shouldn't elementary school be pushing students to the highest level of thinking that they are developmentally prepared for? If this is the case why shouldn't each level be just as challenging as the previous, students are just taking on "more"(not just amount of content, but depth)

    I guess it just seems "off" that no matter what elementary teachers do, students "fall apart" do to difficulty in middle school. Seems like we are failing as teachers somewhere?
     
  8. FourSquare

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    We most definitely are, in a lot of cases. And I am speaking as a former 2nd/3rd grade teacher now teaching middle school. If I ever go back down, I will work on their stamina a lot more...their organization...their collaboration skills...their ability to reflect and set goals...be independent.

    My kids lack independence the most. It is very frustrating. Or maybe I'm expecting too much from them developmentally. I don't know.
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I honestly don't think it is far more challenging academically, nor do I think HS is much more so than MS. I think the problem is that it is much, much, much harder socially. What could be handled by a quick cry in elementary is a problem that is likely to be internalized, buried and festering in MS out of fear of being ostracized.

    Kids are not very good, at all, at balancing academic and social challenges so when one dominates then the other suffers. That is just not as big of an issue in elementary. When we treat MS kids like HS kids and just assume they can handle everything we do them a huge disservice. That's where things start to break down. Having a growth mindset is not effective if it isn't a priority.
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    "Like".
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This makes sense to me.

    I hope more people get involved in this thread. Honestly this is quite a "troubling" idea if we are not preparing our students academically for the next level.

    As a child I never felt that school got harder at any level(as far as I can remember), including college.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I don't think this is necessarily the case. By challenging I just meant the content is a lot harder and in depth and usually a lot more abstract than in elementary school.

    I don't have many math examples because I don't teach math, except for maybe instead of using just numbers they're now using letters as placeholders for numbers and treating them just like numbers and that throws kids.

    For science they're no longer just looking at the macroscopic and in many cases are having to learn how things interact that they can't see physically (at least in person) like atoms. They are also now by this stage asked to involve a lot of math in their science work (calculations, graphs, standard error), that is not required as much in earlier levels when they mostly had to just take observations.

    It's a realm that they just simply won't get in elementary because their brains are not developed enough to deal with too many abstract things. I remember there was a scale of level of development over different ages, and there are some things students just won't understand until their brains grows to a certain point. Like really young students wouldn't understand that when you pour a certain amount of liquid into a different container that's shaped differently, it's still the same amount of liquid, just in a different shape. They still wouldn't understand no matter how many times you did it. Just like a baby thinks their parent actually disappears when you play peekaboo.

    In many ways in middle school it's like the students become totally different people than who they were in elementary if you take into account their brain development, their new social pressures, puberty, etc. And this change happens very rapidly, in some cases over the course of a few months.
     
  13. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Excellent observation. Years ago when I went to college we were taught that the social growth of children was an important part of our curriculum. Through opportunities in play and group activities like drama and art or even sharing in class would help children learn to interact and learn how to compromise and even manners. I do not see children being allowed to have this growth anymore. I see less PE, silent lunch and lots of testing.
     
  14. gr3teacher

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    I don't think it's a matter of difficulty. Every grade level is introducing new concepts, getting the kids to work harder, think more, etc. My curriculum is harder than the 2nd grade curriculum, and it's easier than the 4th grade curriculum, but if I do my job right, my kids will find the difficulty level to be relatively even.
     
  15. Pashtun

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    This is exactly what I am talking about and how I look at it. If not it seems like something is broken between the 3 levels of schools.

    Shouldn't each grade by scaffolding for the next level?

    Replacing numbers with letters happens in like 3rd grade.
     
  16. Pashtun

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    I get this, some things are developmental.

    But should it be, school is easy in elementary to school is way way harder....

    I got straight As in elementary......I am failing middle school...

    Something is off in my book here.
     
  17. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Angela Duckworth is amazing. I highly recommend checking out her TED talk and her actual Grit Test.
     
  18. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Grit

    My concern with this new buzz word is how it will be abused by the education community. Grit does not mean the student's ability to persevere when giving unsurmountable work. However, I can guarantee it will be thought about that way. We talk about grit or the lack of it now by using phrases such as lack of effort. We talk about that water and the horse all the time but we often forget that we lead the horse to the water and tie him up about 10 feet too short of the horse ever being able to drink that water! We do it when we put a book in front of a child that still doesn't know the sounds of all of the letters and wonder why the child isn't trying harder to read. We do it when we give mad minutes to kids that don't even know all of their numbers. These things do happen.

    Grit. The students that demonstrate grit tend to be the students that are better with coming up with solutions to the problems they face particularly in the area of academics. The other students that demonstrate grit are the ones that will keep rehashing things the same way with OCD-like persistence. This second type of student would only end up hurting themselves because what we really need are problem solvers, not grit.
     
  19. Loveslabs

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    I am not being mean or trying to start anything, but your post made me giggle. Do you live with a "middle school creature?"

    I do, and I am not sure what happened to that child's brain. He is a lovely child, but there are days he is just a disaster. He eats everything that gets in his way and seems to be lacking common sense. I will ask him when an assignment is due and he looks at me like he has no clue what the word assignment even means.

    Last week him and his buddies decided to see what would happen if they rode their bikes down an icy hill and into a bush! When I questioned this creature as to why he would do something so stupid, he just shrugged and said, "I don't know." :eek:

    Now, he is not failing, but he is not the same student he was in elementary school. I pray each day that this last year of middle school will pass quickly!!
     
  20. 2ndTimeAround

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    There is a huge jump between middle and high school here. Many of my "advanced" students coming in as freshmen find out quickly that advanced in middle school does not mean advanced in high school. Typically my class is the first class these students get a B in. And it about kills them.

    I think that the material itself is not too terribly different. Of course we delve into concepts more deeply, as I imagine happens each time a child moves into a higher grade.

    For my students I think it is the way that the schools/teachers approach education that is so radically different. You can't fail middle school here. It is almost unheard of. I can't think of a single example where it has occured in my district. So students do not have to work if they don't want to. Failing students expect the same courtesy when they get to high school and they don't get it.

    "Advanced" students get by with hard work (or marginally hard work). Forget your assignment? Ok, turn it in before the 9 weeks is up and you'll get full credit. Bomb the test? Okay, take it home, study it and you can retake the same one after school tomorrow. Miss an A by two points? Okay, bring in some Kleenex and dry erase markers and I'll give you the extra points. Or just make a poster and we'll call it even.

    High school is the first time that they are responsible for their own learning. It is a hard time for many.
     
  21. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    I did the Brainology online course in mindsets when my school offered it to teachers. It consisted of four modules with a video and reading. Not very useful for me because it was a very basic introduction to the idea of mindset.

    I, too, heard this segment on NPR yesterday. Mindset is something I really want to make part of my classroom culture. I think it's a good idea to emphasize it at the beginning of the year and then make it part of my vocabulary. That's one way to make it a recurrent theme.
     
  22. Pashtun

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    See I totally understand what you are saying here, I buy into this all day. If this is what we mean by middle school and high school being harder, I am 100% ok with this.

    What I am questioning is the idea that middle school is way harder academically than elementary. That A students in elementary are just not prepared academically for middle school...this to me is an issue.
     
  23. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    If students are given the exact same test to re-take, it seems that the students really aren't academically prepared. They just learned to memorize the exact test to get their grade. Students should never be given the exact same test. Ever.

    Now, I'll use the term points in a way that we use them. That means that every assignment, test, or quiz is given a number of points. They are not the same as percentage points. While I don't like extra credit for tissues or markers, a student that really needed 2 or 3 points to get the next grade end up being within a few hundredths of a percentage point of the next grade. Our computer system rounds anything over 5 tenths of a percent to the higher percent. That student without any other grade inflation methods would be really close to a true advanced student getting a high grade. That difference could be the difference in just having a bad day or missing a few days due to illness.
     
  24. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Your middle school teachers are much nicer with 7th and 8th graders than I am with third graders...
     
  25. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Exactly. When I taught MS, especially 6th and 7th grade, I found that some students that were labeled "Advanced/Honors" in ELEM began to really struggle in MS. I've found the same thing in the transition from MS to HS; some of the Freshman and Sophomores that I taught in MS a few years ago are no longer considered "Advanced/Honors" students.

    I'm not sure why this is exactly, but I think it's a combination of many things with the first and foremost being that these "Honors" students really only have adequate (at best) academic skills and/or shaky foundational skills. This is a district wide problem here with MS teachers getting classes full of kids who have a weak foundational basis. As the skills become harder and the tasks become more difficult in MS and HS, these cracks in their foundations are exposed. And it. Is. Rough.

    Other factors that attribute to this also include: less teacher support/asking students to do more independently, less parental follow up/support, more accountability for the student and more social demands that take up a lot of their time and energy (who has time to listen to Ms. GoBlue! when I can stare at Romeo in the first row all period).
     

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