The term “grit” is getting a lot of attention in education circles these days. What does it mean exactly, and why would anyone want it?
Coined by psychologist Angela Duckworth, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, “grit” is defined as “the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals.”
According to a story on National Public Radio, grit is about teaching students to persevere and to sustain their passions over time.
Possibly a backlash against the so-called “self-esteem” movement, when trophies were freely distributed to all participants, the grit movement expects something more than just showing up.
Being resilient in the face of failure and the ability to persist over time are traits of success, according to the theory behind grit.
We think cultivating grit is a perfect fit for the field of science. The scientific process often requires the patience and ability to come back at a problem again and again, looking for a new solution, and refusing to give up. Scientific discovery is often years in the making and instilling grit in students might just be the key to populating STEM fields with dynamic, productive future scientists.