Teaching Grit at the Bay Islands International School
firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Some fairly recent research, stemming primarily from Dr. Martin Seligman's work with Authentic Happiness, indicates strong support for the hypothesis that we can determine, measure, and teach common characteristics that are found among successful people. The point to which we at the school are attracted is how success is measured. In this research, success is not measured by how high up the corporate ladder they have climbed, or how much money they have in the bank, or how famous they are, but rather their accomplishments in living life. Measuring tangible things like how many times they have been arrested for possession of drugs, how often they have been in jail. Some of these characteristics are self-confidence, determination, positive interpersonal skills, positive self-esteem, and probably the most important, how long it takes these successful individuals to rebound from a setback.
Drawing on the work of Dr. Angela Duckworth and others, we at the school believe there is a pattern forming concerning these characteristic strengths in successful people, both adults and children.
So the question is "If these strengths seem to be desirable and contribute to success, how do we teach these character strengths to our students?"
The answer, of course, is not simple. But there seems to be some momentum gathering in the area of teaching positive character traits. There is literature available that supports some of the methods of teaching and learning these traits, and online courses are being offered to those who want to learn about this phenomenon.
We at Bay Islands International School believe that if we can fold a program into the process at the school that will provide the opportunity for students to develop these desirable characteristics. Some students are already in possession of most of these characteristics. We see that in their personal and academic success, but we feel that we need to focus on all the learners at the school. More information will be available concerning our GRIT program as we begin our first academic year. Stay tuned, it looks like there are going to be some exciting times ahead.