At BMS, we believe that reinforcing strategies between home and school is an important dynamic in educating the whole child. Here are some ways you can foster our ExPECT character skills at home.
Perseverance: Persists through challenges.
Why it’s important: Angela Duckworth’s research has demonstrated that a student’s “grit,” or ability to persevere, is a far better predictor of grade point average (GPA) and graduation than IQ measures or test scores. Perseverance is tightly tied to the growth mindset attitude of, “I can get better if I try harder,” which helps children develop into more determined and hard-working people.
Create an Optimistic Mindset – Children who view themselves as “not good at math,” or “dumb” will have a much more difficult time succeeding in school than children who view themselves as capable, able to overcome barriers, and in the case of school performance, capable of learning. Helping our children develop an optimistic mindset is one of the most important things we can do as parents. One strategy toward that goal is to share with your children a life experience that required grit. Knowing that you had to overcome adversity can inspire your children to build confidence in their own abilities. A component in cultivating a child’s optimistic mindset depends in part on delivering effective praise.
Use Effective Praise – Ample research exists that demonstrates a positive correlation between how we praise a children’s efforts and their likelihood of persevering in the future. If we only praise children’s accomplishments or use language such as “you’re so smart!”, we run the risk of transmitting the idea that failure will be a disappointment to adults, which can actually discourage the likelihood that children will remain persistent in trying to reach their goals.
Show How to Cope with Setbacks – Inevitably, despite our children’s and our best efforts, children will suffer disappointments, setbacks and failures. Children (and adults) who have well-developed grit perceive setbacks as challenges to be overcome and failures as learning opportunities. When our children fail, we need to recognize their efforts, express confidence in their ability to learn from the situation, and help them identify what they could do differently in the future. To paraphrase a Chinese proverb, children with grit fall down twice and get up three times.
Share Stories of Perseverance with your Child - Sit down with your family to watch and discuss the short video, Life=Risk—Motivation. Like the Little Engine That Could, this video teaches all of us an important life lesson about the importance of grit.