What is grit and how do we foster it in our young people? In May, over 500 students, parents and teachers from schools across the country enjoyed a talk on ‘grit’ by the world renowned academic expert Angela Duckworth.
Angela Duckworth chose Wimbledon High to visit on her four-day UK book tour because of the school’s ongoing initiatives – not just the everyday pastoral work, but its regular high profile focus in the school and beyond: projects included ‘fail better’ week in 2016, and ‘great girls get gritty’ in 2015 amongst others.
“Building resilience is key – there is no more pertinent issue when raising our children,” said Wimbledon High’s Head, Jane Lunnon. “What Angela refers to as “stickability”; perseverance, stamina, determination in pursuing one’s goals over the long term – goals one feels passionately about – directly correlates to great grades, great careers and great lives. In a competitive world, where social media exacerbates a tendency for young people to believe their lives have to be perfect, we’ve long encouraged our students not to fear failure, rather to have a go, pick themselves up when they make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. It was a great privilege to welcome Angela to reinforce this message.”
Angela emphasised the importance of having a passion and following it, the need for ‘deliberate practice’ (practice for 15 entirely focused minutes – 100% effort) and the importance of listening to feedback and learning from mistakes. She was careful to remind everyone that being gritty does not mean being stoical, and through her own human, empathetic approached she modelled that grit sits comfortably with compassion, warmth and humour.