As a teacher for over a decade, my question has always been ‘What sets one student apart from another?’ Is it nature or nurture? Usually, by the end of the first class, I have a feeling who will do well and who would need extra help. What did the kids who I knew would do well have in them? What were the qualities I was unconsciously looking out for?
“What did the kids who I knew would do well have in them?”
I was also beginning to realise that in most of my English classes, I focused a lot of time and energy on developing a mindset in my students. I was pushing them to be more creative, more resilient, to view mistakes as room for growth, to be curious, to question themselves and to persevere. I knew from experience that once they started to do that, the English lesson was absorbed and applied far more effectively.
Somewhere along the way, I stumbled upon Angela Duckworth’s best selling book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. As I was reading it, it dawned on me that she had put into words all those qualities I was looking for in a student as well as those I was trying to incorporate into my lessons. This led me into further research on how I could teach this skill better to my students. My research led me to Amy Lyon of bitofgrit.com. Amy, a middle school teacher in the US, had achieved a doctorate in education for her thesis on ‘Teaching and Fostering Qualities Related to Grit.’ Amy was happy to answer my questions and share more on her work as well as mentor me on how to teach this important quality to my students. With her knowledge and my personal experiences as a teacher, I went on to develop a course to teach Grit & Life Skills to students in Malaysia.
“… more creative, more resilient, to view mistakes as room for growth, to be curious, to question themselves and to persevere.”
The course consists of all the components of Grit–Interest, Practice, Purpose and Hope as well as the top skills for success according to the World Economic Forum. These skills include Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, Decision Making, Stress Management, etc. These are further emphasised by the World Health Organization as necessary in promoting psychosocial competence which is key in a child/adolescent’s world today.
As a teacher, I wonder sometimes, if my job will be obsolete soon. Kids these days are capable of learning far more than what I am physically capable of teaching in a classroom. Information is at their fingertips. Yet, they are swamped with distractions in today’s modern world. My job is no longer just giving them the information but rather giving them the tools on how to succeed on their own. That, to me, is the role teachers of this generation have to undertake. – Nazya Hyder
Nazya teaches Creative Writing, Critical Reading, English IGCSE Language and Literature and StarWorks Enrichment Classes at PrepWorks
Our GRIT class as part of the Easter Holiday Program is out soon! Watch this space. To express early interest whatsapp 019-409-4037.