This week, as we quickly approach the end of the first quarter, we are continuing to reflect on our work with kids in Respect Self. Grade 3 in particular was working to brainstorm what it means to “be yourself.” They developed some understanding of this important concept and shared that it is important to remember that being yourself also means accepting, expressing, trusting, valuing, and loving yourself. That sense of personal identity is a key factor behind the researched quality of “grit” that I mentioned at opening ceremony.
A foundational concept in eduction is linked to our growing understanding of readiness. We work hard to monitor developmental milestones, growth, and maturity as factors of readiness for learning. Readiness is about understanding if a child has the “tools” to take on the next challenge in their learning journey. In our deeper understanding of Respect Self, kids are beginning to reflect on their own readiness, and taking steps to actively prepare themselves for the next stage in their learning. In many ways, this is the best kind of personalization, when teachers and students work together to make sure that tasks are neither too easy, nor too difficult. In collaboration with parents, we want to make sure that students are appropriately frustrated so that they can demonstrate resilience through increasingly engaging and challenging tasks.
This excerpt from Angela Duckworth in 2014 gives some greater insight into this idea, something that we all instinctively accept:
In other words, children need to be taught to appreciate that they’re supposed to suffer when working hard on a challenge that exceeds their skill. They’re supposed to feel confused. Frustration is probably a sign that they’re on the right track and need to gut it out through the natural human aversion to mental effort and feeling overwhelmed so they can evolve.
We want to challenge kids while keeping them engaged in a way where they understand the relevancy of their work to their lives and broader goals. Respecting self is about the associated emotional fortitude, the internal feeling of worth and potential, that propels kids from one level to the next.
Comments? I encourage your engagement through this blog and continue the conversation about grit and the ongoing development of our theme.