Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3 – Cultivating Grit – A Guest Post by Jillian Smart, M.Ed.

The Value in Cultivating Grit

In January, I returned from hiatus with a blog post on confidence-building strategies. The take-home points are that we (1) value mistakes and model healthy responses to failure, (2) encourage learners to focus on what they can do, and (3) maximize critically thinking opportunities.

Since we’re in the thick of it, I’d be remiss if I did not also recap student strategies for less stressful testing. Testing season is an intense time for educators, learners, and parents. There’re a number of ways to decrease stress and enter testing season with greater confidence. One of our guest bloggers, Jillian Smart, M.Ed., shares four strategies

  1. Review information daily
  2. Clarify gaps in learning
  3. Change daily habits
  4. Build endurance

 

There’s a connection.

Confidence-building strategies and strategies for less stressful testing are linked by grit. When we cultivate grit, we learn (and teach others) to persevere over long periods of time. For instance, one confidence-building strategy is that we model healthy responses to failure. It’s not likely that modeling a healthy response once is going to cut it. Dealing with failure in healthy ways requires a lot of personal growth initially.

Learner perceptions about failure can be deep-rooted. The more deeply rooted our behaviors and thoughts, the more exposure to new behaviors and thoughts we require before change happens. This is not only true of our response to failure; it’s true of our response to challenge. Habits are hard to break if we aren’t gritty about making the change.

Students with low confidence and poor test performance behave and think in ways that are not self serving. We don’t want to overlook environmental factors that obliterate a child’s confidence in himself or leaves her ill-prepared to compete academically. We also don’t want to nurture narcissism. For a moment, we want to highlight something that learners can do for themselves: cultivate grit.

Cultivating Grit: An approach to increasing confidence explores character development: grit, growth mindset, and motivation. I draw on personal and professional experiences as well as current research to share do-it-yourself confidence-building strategies with educators and parents. Cultivating Grit takes readers and listeners on a journey through an eight-part discussion with five reflection activities to be completed individually or as a group. The premise is that by helping learners increase confidence, performance improves in class and at home.

It’s a journey.

Those who experience failure are erroneously viewed as lacking grit. Grit skeptics seem to think that persevering over time means that we never miss the mark, that we always get the “thing” we’re passionate about… if we work hard enough. Though some focus on one goal, execute the plan, and live happily ever after, many more of us will have to work very hard at a number of our passions.

Sectors of society are afflicted with the “this is how we’ve always done it” approach to education and training, which is much too rigid for us to reap the benefits of all our talents. I encourage you to have a closer look at the opportunities we uncover by understanding and cultivating grit in our lives.

We’ve found that character development is the secret to student growth. Cultivating grit is an important piece of character education for educators and parents. Request your free download of Cultivating Grit today.

Jillian Smart, M.Ed. is an author, coach, and educator. She partners with educators and families around the world to facilitate development of more independent learners. Jillian launched Jackson Education Support as the vehicle for this work. The program she has developed is a breakthrough that has garnered much support and applause since the launch. The 96% success rate among exam preparation and tutoring clients evidences program efficacy.

Her approach is unique in that she leverages character development to affect cognitive development. Character development experiences with clients and professional development training serve as the foundation for this book.

As we continue to learn and grow together, please fill free to connect with and reach out to Jillian by visiting her site at Jackson Education Support or follow her on Facebook. In addition, please share your ideas on how you prepare your scholars to build confidence and overcome testing anxiety.

Thank you for reading, commenting, sharing, and following!

Until then, Happy Teaching!

Krystal L. Smith, The RenewED Teacher

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