A couple of days ago, I sat down to draw up the school goals for the new academic session. After I had jotted down a few important goals I wanted to achieve, I realized I needed a theme for these goals as they sounded unusual. So I started to search for a word to sum up the ideas that I had written down.
This quest led me to a Ted talk video by Angela Lee Duckwork that perfectly described these ideas. I was thrilled to have someone aptly describe my goals in a word. The only other time I have been this excited was when I first got introduced to Lev Vygotsky in my IPGCE class. His theory accurately described my pedagogical experiences in the classroom.
Duckwork summed up my goals with the word ‘grit’ which she described as ‘a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal’. She emphasizes that grit is a hallmark of high achievers in every domain.
I totally agree with her that beyond high IQ, talent, academic success there are greater fundamental tools for success in life.
The tools that I have identified to be very visible in my classroom practice are:
Spirit of Excellence.
Courage and Learning
Success is a life journey that requires us as educators to equip the learners in our communities with the necessary tools to enable them navigate life with ease. To rebuild the present day Nigeria into our ‘Preferred Nigeria’, the Nigerian educators need to be intentional in teaching Grit to our children. Our first lesson on Grit will be Courage.
Courage is the ability to do things that frighten you. Courage is not the absence of fear but strength in the face of fear. My name is Courage. In my personal life journey there have been experiences that have required that I demonstrate courage. I have in most cases lived up to my name but the few instances that I failed to, began to give me some concerns. Is courage inborn or can it be taught? Once I discovered that it can be taught, I began to consciously and unconsciously inculcate this attribute in my learners.
How to Teach Courage:
1. Explain and demonstrate to your learners that everyone experiences fear (share your own fears with them and how you overcame them).
2. Teach them the habit of self-talk. Let them learn to speak to themselves positively about anything. Teach them the poem ‘Courage Brother Do not Stumble’. Give them beautiful phrases from scriptures to memorize. This will come handy in the day of battle. Fear is a war.
3. Put the tools of planning, prioritizing and time allotment to use. Teach them how to setting goals and what goal setting is all about (explain goals as desired end results they want to achieve.)
4. Teach your learners that doing the right thing always requires courage. People do unethical things because they lack the courage to do that which is right.
5. Never permit children to leave their task uncompleted.
Everybody has the capacity of being courageous. Aristotle referred to courage as the first virtue.
I believe so strongly that children should be taught how to manage their study by showing them how to plan, prioritise tasks and manage time. Once a child can plan and manage time,he is able to persist in the face of any difficulty.
The fear of failure is invariably reduced when the educator clarifies to the learners that it is alright to make mistakes. Mistakes only create opportunities for you to progress and improve on your weakness.
Help your learners to focus on effort which is a controllable element in the learning environment. The result of this is always consistent and amazing.
Courage means extra work. Courage can be taught and learnt. Courage is all about the mental preparedness to tackle difficult task and situations. So, it is crucial to help our learners develop courage because challenges, difficulties and uncertainties are inevitable. Therefore, they need tangible tools to deal with the realities of life both in and out of the classroom.
Teach your child courage. Develop grit in them.
Empower your child to succeed!!!