In Professor Angela Duckworth’s TED talk, she says of her research: “One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.”
The effusive blurbs on the book cover go even beyond Professor Duckworth’s own dramatic pronouncements: Daniel Gilbert, the author of Stumbling on Happiness, says: “Psychologists have spent decades searching for the secret of success, but Duckworth is the one who has found it…She not only tells us what it is, but how to get it.”
Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking (which we’ve looked at previously in an episode on supporting your introverted child) says: “Impressively fresh and original…Grit scrubs away preconceptions about how far our potential can take us…Buy this, send copies to your friends, and tell the world that there is, in fact, hope. We can all dazzle.”
Don’t we all want to dazzle? Don’t we all want our children to dazzle? Is grit the thing that will help them do it?
It turns out that Professor Duckworth’s own research says: perhaps not. Listen in to learn how much grit is a good thing, how to help your child be grittier, and why it might not be the factor that assures their success.
Other episodes mentioned in this show
Crede, M., Tynan, M.C., & Harms, P.D. (2017). Much ado about grit: A meta-analytic synthesis of the grit literature. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 113(3), 492-511.
Del Giudice, M. (2014, October 14). Grit trumps talent and IQ: A story every parent (and educator) should read. National Geographic. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/10/141015-angela-duckworth-success-grit-psychology-self-control-science-nginnovators/
Denby, D. (2016, June 21). The limits of “grit.” The New Yorker. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-limits-of-grit
Duckworth, A.L., Peterson, C., Matthews, M.D., & Kelly, D.R. (2007). Grit: Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92(6), 1087-1101. Full article available at https://www.ronaldreaganhs.org/cms/lib7/WI01001304/Centricity/Domain/187/Grit%20JPSP.pdf
Duckworth, A.L., & Yeager, D.S. (2015). Measurement matters: Assessing personal qualities other than cognitive abilities for educational purposes. Educational Researcher 44(4), 237-251.
Duckworth, A.L. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. New York, NY: Scribner. (Affiliate link)
Eskreis-Winkler, L., Shulman, E.P., Young, V., Tsukayama, E., Brunwasaser, S.M., & Duckworth, A.L. (2016). Using wise interventions to motivate deliberate practice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 111(5), 728-744.
Farrington, C.A., Roderick, M., Allensworth, E., Nagoka, J., Keyes, T.S., Johnson, D.W., & Beechum, N.O. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners: The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance: A critical literature review. The University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Retrieved from https://consortium.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/publications/Noncognitive%20Report.pdf
Forsyth, D.R., & Kerr, N.A. (1999, August). Are adaptive illusions adaptive? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.
Hannon, B. (2014). Predicting college success: The relative contributions of five social/personality factors, five cognitive/earning factors, and SAT scores. Journal of Educational and Training Studies 2(4), 46-58.
Heckman, J.J. (2013). Giving kids a fair chance (A strategy that works). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kamenetz, A. (2016, May 25). MacArthur ‘genius’ Angela Duckworth responds to a new critique of grit. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/05/25/479172868/angela-duckworth-responds-to-a-new-critique-of-grit
Kapoor, M.L. (2017, June 27). 12 books expelled from Tucson schools. High Country News. Retrieved from http://www.hcn.org/articles/education-tucsons-mexican-american-studies-ban-goes-back-to-court
Kohn, A. (2014). Grit: A skeptical look at the latest educational fad. Author. Retrieved from http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/grit/
No byline. (1998, March 15). Weddings; Jason Duckworth, Angela Lee. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1998/03/15/style/weddings-jason-duckworth-angela-lee.html
Sparks, S.D. (2015, June 2). ‘Nation’s Report Card’ to gather data on grit, mindset. Education Week. Retrieved from http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/06/03/nations-report-card-to-gather-data-on.html
The Leadership Conference. (2015, May 5). Civil rights groups: “We oppose anti-testing efforts.” Author. Retrieved from https://civilrights.org/civil-rights-groups-we-oppose-anti-testing-efforts/
The Learning Project Elementary School. Website. Author. Retrieved from http://www.learningproject.org/
The Nation’s Report Card (n.d.). Percentage of fourth-grade students at or above Proficient not significantly different compared to 2013. Author. Retrieved from https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2015/#reading/acl?grade=4
Tough, P. (2016). Helping children succeed: What works and why. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Useem, J. (2016, May). Is grit overrated: The downsides of dogged, single-minded persistence. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/is-grit-overrated/476397/
Zernike, K. (2016, February 29). Testing for joy and grit? Schools nationwide push to measure students’ emotional skills. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/01/us/testing-for-joy-and-grit-schools-nationwide-push-to-measure-students-emotional-skills.html?_r=0