Grit Growth Progression Journey

Erik YoungmanBlog, Lead Better

TL;DR:

  • “Grit Growth” empowers learners to focus on their grit while also being cognizant of their growth.
  • The “Grit Growth Progression Journey” is a sequence of events, opportunities, behaviors, and responses that can empower reflective realization that grit enhances growth. 

Grit and growth impact performance.  Grit can be defined as perseverance, courage, bravery, and passion—it can have a positive impact on performance and outcomes.  Growth can be defined as improvement of skills, proficiency, efficiency, or understanding.  

Grit Growth 

Deliberately combining grit and growth to focus on “Grit Growth” empowers learners to focus on their grit while also being cognizant of their growth.  Learners experience “Grit Growth” when they embrace challenges while modeling, reflecting about, and empowering growth mindset attitudes, effort, and actions.

“Grit Growth” includes:

  1. Generating questions while curiously and creatively wondering, self-assessing, using resources, seeking assistance, and helping others.
  2. Resiliently expecting struggle and failure to be part of the learning process while anticipating, analyzing, and amending mistakes.
  3. Improving focus, understanding, proficiency, and efficiency.
  4. Thoughtfully and courageously getting out of your comfort zone as you train your brain to flexibly apply improvements and make connections in the future.

Learners experience “Grit Growth” when they deliberately persist for long durations to make incremental progress while overcoming temporary regression or delayed progress.

Short- and long-term “Grit Growth” is impacted by different variables, extra practice, and reflecting about feedback.  Momentum from short- and long-term progress magnifies growth rate and efficiency.  The intelligence and skills of individuals or teams impact the amount of additional activities, attitude, effort, and reflection that is needed to enhance the growth trajectory. Regardless, enhancing the collective grit typically enhances the short-and long-term growth.

We can learn from independent variables as well as cumulative impact from a combination of multiple variables. For example, challenges, fears, setbacks, mistakes, misunderstandings, or barriers can independently impact choices or planning.  However, an analysis of multiple challenges, fears, setbacks, mistakes, misunderstandings, or barriers can provide a more general understanding regarding trends or different corrections.

Enhanced grit growth happens with increased targeted practice independently and with the team or class.  Extra time and focus have positive impacts on growth rate and efficiency.  Enhanced efficiency and strategy can also be impacted by reflecting about and then making changes based on feedback from others or direct observations in the spirit of continuous improvement. 

Learners experience “Grit Growth” when they embrace challenges while modeling, reflecting about, and empowering growth mindset attitudes, effort, and actions. Click To Tweet

Grit Growth Progression Journey

The “Grit Growth Progression Journey” is a sequence of events, opportunities, behaviors, and responses that can empower reflective realization that grit enhances growth.  The “Grit Growth Progression Journey” is a visual that can guide reflection, analysis, and discussion regarding the attitude, reflection, effort, action, and challenges that should be expected when learning new information or skills. 

Lessons learned can be applied to future situations that are similar or different. Attitudes in the “Grit Growth Progression Journey” include curiosity, courage, and creativity.  Reflection can focus on challenges, problem-solving or goals. Effort includes resilience. Action includes resourcefulness, improving focus and efficiency, pausing and slowing down, acting on feedback, explaining thinking, and adjusting.  Finally, challenges include challenge, fear, setbacks, mistakes, misunderstandings, or barriers.

The “Grit Growth Journey” is more extensive than productive struggle regarding duration and cumulative impact.  Rather than a cycle, the “Grit Growth Journey” illustrates growth over time.  Each challenge, attitude, effort, activity, and reflection can independently and collectively inspire additional motivation, progress, or momentum.  The “Grit Growth Progression Journey” can demonstrate how learners can overcome multiple challenges with deliberate decisions and courage when they are passionate about multiple goals connected to an area of focus.

Ways Teachers Can Model and Empower “Grit Growth”

Teachers can model and empower “Grit Growth” and impact thoughts and tendencies by creating a growth mindset culture that creates a growth-oriented focus on continuous improvement by:

  1. Expecting growth, change, resilience, and optimism.
  2. Being reflectively fascinated and inspired by challenges, risks, and mistakes.
  3. Recognizing that strengths and deficiencies are relative, not absolute, and can change based on situation, effort, and focus.
  4. Supporting students as they seek challenges, opportunities, and feedback.

Specific examples of ways teachers can empower “Grit Growth” include:

  1. Modeling targeted behaviors, strategies, and vocabulary.
  2. Providing resources and questions that facilitate reflection and self-assessment.
  3. Creating time for activities that provide opportunities for students to utilize skills previously discussed.
  4. Providing scaffolded support and encouragement.

Teachers can use the “Grit Growth Progression Journey” image as well as the “Grit Growth Progression Journey Questions” to empower reflection about the journey or experience of a famous person, hero, or book character. 

The questions empower reflection and discussion regarding a specific person’s attitude, reflection, effort, action, and challenges to guide future application in different scenarios during the process of continuous improvement.

Teachers can also use the “Grit Growth Progression Journey” image to guide reflection about improving a new skill, understanding, proficiency, or efficiency for athletics, music, or learning. The duration could be for a single lesson or practice or for a longer time period.  For example, students could reflect about the time when they learned to ride a bicycle or play a new musical instrument.  Sample discussion questions include: 

  1. What mistakes did you learn from?
  2. Explain how you improved focus, understanding, proficiency, and efficiency.
  3. How did you make connections to apply learning from previous experiences?
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Growth Mindset Class Pledge

Teachers can also model and empower grit growth by creating and discussing a Growth Mindset Class Pledge that meets the needs of the learners in their classroom.  The “Growth Mindset Class Pledge” can become a common mantra to guide collective responsibility for continuous improvement in the classroom.

The pledge empowers shared ownership by focusing on empathy, kindness, assisting others, and proudly recognizing progress.  The pledge also empowers individual ownership by focusing on embracing challenges, correcting mistakes, reflecting, self-assessing, and creative problem-solving.  Displaying, discussing, and referring to this “Growth Mindset Class Pledge” can enhance other growth mindset discussions. And it can enhance the application and impact of thinking and actions.

Regardless of the path you select, be sure you courageously commit with focus and grit! 

How will you empower a growth mindset culture and “Grit Growth”? What am I missing here? How can you empower grit growth in your school?  I would love to hear feedback and questions via Twitter (@Erik_Youngman) so we can continue to share resources that empower a growth mindset and “Grit Growth.”


About Erik Youngman

Erik Youngman is an education leader who is passionate about topics such as homework, grading, leadership, and growth mindset. He recently completed his nineteenth year in educational leadership. Erik is the Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment for Libertyville District 70 in Libertyville, Illinois. Previous education experiences include being a principal in Libertyville as well as an assistant principal and teacher in Gurnee, Illinois.

Erik earned a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Education Specialist Degree, and Master of Science in Education from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Arts from Augustana College. Please follow and contact Erik via Twitter: @Erik_Youngman.