'Perserverance' photo (c) 2008, Wesley Fryer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Check out my lesson at The New York Times for English Language Learners on “grit”, which includes a student interactive & teaching ideas.

Also, see my three-part Ed Week series on grit

Perseverance, or what Professor Angela Duckworth has labeled “grit,” is a key personal quality, and perhaps THE key quality, needed for success — according to her research.

I have a lesson plan on grit in my most recent book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves, and thought readers might find it useful to have a The Best…” list with additional resources.

You might also find some useful videos at The Best Videos Illustrating Qualities Of A Successful Language Learner.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit”:

The Truth About Grit is an excellent article that appeared in the Boston Globe.

Which Traits Predict Success? (The Importance of Grit) is from Wired.

post, The Most Effective Thing I’ve Done To Prepare Students For Standardized Tests, one way I have used idea in my classroom.

Grit: Perseverance and Passion For Long Term Goals is a very accessible summary Professor Duckworth has written about her research.

And here is the link to her actual study of the same name.

If you go to link and scroll down a little bit you, and your students, can take her “grit study” after free registration.

The Myth of Innate Genius by David Shenk is a related article.

Here are two interviews with Professor Duckworth.

Here’s a short summary of her research.

Here’s a video of a talk Professor Duckworth gave on her research:

comes from Dr Kathie Nunley’s Educator’s Newsletter: “…task persistence in young adolescents
is extremely predictive of their income and occupational levels as adults. In males, it’s actually more predictive than even intelligence. Researchers
measured task persistence in 13 year olds and found that high task persistence predicted higher grades throughout high school and higher educational
attainment in adulthood. Andersson, H. & Bergman, L. (20100). “The role of task persistence in young adolescence for successful educational and
occupational attainment in middle adulthood.” Developmental Psychology, May 30, preview (no pagination specified).”

You might want to consider starting off a lesson on grit with video: Now Is What You Call Perseverance!

The Future of Self-Improvement, Part I: Grit Is More Important Than Talent
is not a new research study, but it does give a good short review of the research by Angela Duckworth about the importance of grit,or perseverance.

“The box score shows failure. To Lin, it reads like a teachable moment”

Everything You Wanted To Know About Grit, But Were Afraid To Ask…

In Spite Of Everything is a cartoon representation of a Vincent van Gogh quote.

Black Men’s College Success Depends on Grit, Not Just Grades, Study Finds is from Sarah Sparks at Education Week.

President Obama On Perseverance

(You can find the transcript to Professor Duckworth’s TED Talk here)

Michelle Obama On “Grit”

Grit: The Other 21st Century Skills is by Jackie Gerstein.


video is part of a new TED-Ed Lesson titled There’s no dishonor in having a disability. You can see the entire lesson here.

All I can say is…Wow.

The Significance of Grit: A Conversation with Angela Lee Duckworth doesn’t really have anything new to people familiar with Duckworth’s work, but it does provide a good overview.

No, L.A. School Reformers, Grit Does Not Equal Giving Students Rewards & Being Data-Driven

Highlights Of A Reddit Chat With Angela Duckworth & Roland Fryer

One of those resources I mentioned earlier in list is a simple “grit” test that anyone can take (it’s at Professor Duckworth’s site), and that I’ve had my students use. It’s useful, though you do have to register there before you can take it, and I don’t think the feedback given is particularly helpful.

However, I just discovered that The Globe and Mail have published a version of it online that can be taken without needing to register, and I like the feedback a bit better. It’s combined with a nice article on grit research.

Another new resource is a nice collection at Middleweb titled Helping Students Stick With Learning.

“Grit” Isn’t Everything, But I Still Think It’s Important For Students To Learn About (& Practice) It

True Grit: The Best Measure of Success and How to Teach It is by Vicki Davis.

Grit – motivating students is from teflreflections.

How Important is Grit in Student Achievement? is from MindShift. It gives a good overview of the research on the topic.

This Looks Interesting, Though I Have Some Concerns: Angela Duckworth Creates “Grit” Organization
This Has Me Concerned: “Study Links Teacher ‘Grit’ with Effectiveness, Retention”

DO TEACHERS NEED MORE ‘GRIT’? is an excellent series of commentaries at Education Week Teacher.

The Downside of “Grit” is by Alfie Kohn. I still think it’s an important concept to help students learn. However, this kind of backlash is understandable since some proponents have been communicating it as the answer to many educational problems. In fact, it’s just one of many skills our students need to develop in order to be successful.

Grit, Failure & Stuff Like That

Dilbert Demonstrates How The Concept Of “Grit” Can Be Misused

Reacting to personal setbacks: Do you bounce back or give up? is from Eureka Alert.

‘Grit’ May Not Spur Creative Success, Scholars Say is from Ed Week.

Self-Control, Grit & All That Stuff

Why Self-Control and Grit Matter — and Why It Pays to Know the Difference is from The APS Observer.

“Grit” Runs Amok In The New York Times

Quote Of The Day: “Getting Better At Difficult Things”

Is Grit Racist? is from Ed Week.

Quote Of The Day: The Appeal Of “Grit”

Second Quote Of The Day: Reasonable Thoughts On “Grit”

Measurement Matters….Maybe Not So Much

Quote Of The Day: Is Grit Always A Good Thing?

Students with ‘grit’ do not push themselves to excess is from The BBC.

“Why ‘grit’ isn’t always a good thing”

CNN Video “Can Grit Be Taught?” Shows Its Seductive Attraction & Lurking Danger (If You Look For It)

Getting real about grit: 6 things every teacher needs to know is by Angela Watson.

New Study: With Grit, You Need To “Know When To Fold ‘Em”

“Getting Gritty with It.” is from The Wellington Learning and Research Centre and is really quite good. The study makes a good connection between grit, growth mindset and metacognition.


The Limitations of Teaching ‘Grit’ in the Classroom is from The Atlantic.

Get Motivated to Persevere! Lesson

Video: “Better Call Saul” Scene Illustrates The Limitations Of Grit

Angela Duckworth has a useful Q & A page on her new (at least, to me) website, along with an online “grit scale” that anyone can take.

How To Make Sure Your Kids Have Grit, 6 Secrets Backed By Research is from Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

Angela Duckworth Criticizes Assessing “Character” For Accountability Purposes In NY Times Column

Grit under attack is a pretty interesting piece from The Hechinger Report.

Quote Of The Day: The Future Of “Grit”

The odds are you won’t know when to quit is by Tim Harford.

This Is The Research-Backed Way To Increase Grit is from Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

Grit, Overemphasized – Agency, Overlooked is by Pedro Noguera.

Video: President Obama’s Commencement Address At Rutgers

Good Advice On NPR About “Grit”: “Take A Step Back & Chill”

Teaching ‘grit’ is bad for children, and bad for democracy appeared in Aeon. I think it’s a bit “over the top,” but does make some good points.

Michelle Obama’s commencement address at City College of New York offers a great perspective on grit. You can read the entire transcript here. Here’s one of the highlights:

And, graduates, you all have faced challenges far greater than anything I or my family have ever experienced, challenges that most college students could never even imagine. Some of you have been homeless. Some of you have risked the rejection of your families to pursue your education. Many of you have lain awake at night wondering how on Earth you were going to support your parents and your kids and still pay tuition. And many of you know what it’s like to live not just month to month or day to day, but meal to meal.

But, graduates, let me tell you, you should never, ever be embarrassed by those struggles. You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages. And I know that because I’ve seen it myself, not just as a student working my way through school, but years later when I became — before I came to the White House and I worked as a dean at a college.

In that role, I encountered students who had every advantage –- their parents paid their full tuition, they lived in beautiful campus dorms. They had every material possession a college kid could want –- cars, computers, spending money. But when some of them got their first bad grade, they just fell apart. They lost it, because they were ill-equipped to handle their first encounter with disappointment or falling short.

But, graduates, as you all know, life will put many obstacles in your path that are far worse than a bad grade. You’ll have unreasonable bosses and difficult clients and patients. You’ll experience illnesses and losses, crises and setbacks that will come out of nowhere and knock you off your feet. But unlike so many other young people, you have already developed the resilience and the maturity that you need to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and keep moving through the pain, keep moving forward. You have developed that muscle.

Here’s the video of her entire speech:


More on soft skills: Time to Flit the grit is from Brookings.

Why students need more than ‘grit’ is by Pedro A. Noguera and Anindya Kundu.

Dan Willingham Writes The Best Piece On “Grit” That I’ve Seen

The New Yorker Publishes No-Holds Barred Critique Of “Grit”

Should Grit Be Taught and Tested in School? is from Scientific American.

“Finding Dory,” Growth Mindset & Grit

The Truth Behind Grit is by Peter Greene.

This book upends everything we thought we knew about where grit comes from and how to get it is from Quartz.

“Grit” May Have Its Place, But Also Has To Be Kept In Its Place

This is a good interview with Angela Duckworth and also includes links to a ton of resources.

Raising a Child With Grit Can Mean Letting Her Quit is from The NY Times.

Video: New TED-Talks PBS Education Show Exceeds My Expectations & Ten Minutes Is A “Must-Watch”

Armless Table Tennis Paralympian Teaches A Zillion Lessons

Could Grit Thinking Drive Inequality? is from Inside Higher Ed.

Beyond Grit: The Science of Creativity, Purpose, and Motivation is a transcript of a conversation between Adam Grant and Angela Duckworth. It’s pretty interesting, and Duckworth makes this comment:

I stand with the critics when they say, “Grit is absolutely not enough. Let’s not lay more blame at the feet of victims who don’t have any say in their circumstances.”

I think that’s heartening to hear, though I wonder how she defines “who don’t have any say” – based on the context of her comment, I think she primarily means children. I would hope she would broaden it to “who don’t have much say” to include adults, too (see The Best Resources Showing Social Emotional Learning Isn’t Enough).

Here’s another interesting conversation transcript: Angela Duckworth and Pete Carroll Discuss Grit and the Science of Hope.

Quote Of The Day: “We should be gritty, yes, but not stupid”

Got grit? Maybe . . . is from Kappan Online provides good cautions about the effort to measure grit.

Forget Grit. Focus on Inequality. appeared in Ed Week.

10 Incredible Lessons We Learned From Michael Phelps on Grit and Perseverance is a very accessible article that could easily be used with students, along with a simple writing prompt.

Forget Grit. Focus on Inequality. appeared in Ed Week.

Video: Mandy Harvey On America’s Got Talent Good For Discussion On Perseverance

Interesting Commentary By Howard Gardner On The “Limits Of Grit”

Bingo! There Are Issues With This Study On Grit & ELLs, But I Am Sure Going To Use It With My Students

A 36-Year-Old Building Super Dreams of Skiing in the Olympics—He Just Might is from The Wall Street Journal.

Infants Can Learn the Value of Perseverance by Watching Adults is from The Atlantic, and it seems to me it’s a reasonable extrapolation that our students can learn the same when we make mistakes and model learning from them.

New TED Talk Video: “The boost students need to overcome obstacles”

The Importance of Academic Courage is by Ron Berger.

Very Useful Article On Resilience

Infants make more attempts to achieve a goal when they see adults persist is the title of a new study. It doesn’t seem like a stretch to me to imagine teachers can have similar effects on students.

I know the person who sent this next tweet meant it to show a positive trait, but I believe it shows what can happen when “grit” goes wild. Our students need to be aware when it’s time to give up on something, too:

How to Integrate Growth Mindset Messages Into Every Part of Math Class is from MindShift.

The video on this tweet shows that grit is sometimes not the most important thing.

Do You Have Rocky Grit? is by JOE DE SENA.

We’re Teaching Grit the Wrong Way is from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

High Achievers Have More Grit Than Talent is from Forbes. I think it would be an excellent text for students.


When to Stick with Something — and When to Quit appeared in the Harvard Business Review.

Research scholars to air problems with using ‘grit’ at school is from The Hechinger Report.

Do People Who Have Grit Have It All the Time? is from Psychology Today.

We Tell Our Kids That Hard Work Always Pays Off. What Happens When They Fail Anyway? is from TIME, and discusses the dangers of “grit.”

Ever Failed, Try Again, Succeed Better: Results from a Randomized Educational Intervention on Grit is pretty interesting. I’ts behind a paywall, but there other ways to access it (see The Best Tools For Academic Research).

Can everyone bounce back from adversity? is from Fast Company.

Rethinking ‘resilience’ and ‘grit’ is from The Boston Globe.

What Separates Champions from ‘Almost Champions’? is an interesting article.


I Will Never Teach Another Lesson “Grit” Without Including This NY Times Piece On The Value Of Quitting


To Build Grit, Go Back to Basics is from The Harvard Business Review.

The Weak Case for Grit appeared in Nautilus.


Excellent New NY Times Video On The Perils Of Grit

Uncovering links between grit and cognitive function is from Science Daily.

Guiding Students to Sustain Effort in School is from Edutopia.

Grit Is Good. But Quitting Can Be, Too. is from The Harvard Business Review.

When should you let your kid quit? is from MindShift.

Guardian Angels is by Angela Duckworth.

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