How Much Helping is Too Much?

I can

This past week or so I have been mulling over how much direction and guidance we should give our students. How much should we be leading their assignments, their learning, their thinking? I had a great conversation with my classroom teacher about the group of 3rd grade students we have this year that are practically unable to carryout out more than simple tasks without being led from one step to another. They are capable in many ways, but they seem to lack the confidence to try new things, to stick with a complicated task, or to problem solve themselves. We discussed the need to get help them learn to think for themselves, to explore possibilities, and to not always need their hands held through the entire process. We would like to get them to the place where they say, “Actually, I can.” instead of “I can’t.”

I would love to do some work with the class on growth mindsets and the term grit, in particular. Doing a little research (pinterest counts as research, right?) I found a great article called 4 Easy Ways to Foster Grit in the Classroom by Kristen Tulsian. Read that article here.

My favorite idea from the article was to create a Got Grit? board and use post it notes to record instances when you see students exhibiting grit. Not only does this help students to understand what grit is, it celebrates when they use it.


Tulsian also recommends helping students focus on the process, not the end result. We can encourage the way they tackled a problem, even when they don’t find the solution. Sticking with a difficult task is a more important life skill than how to do a specific math problem, for example.

As much as I hate to admit it, I have struggled with having grit this term, particularly at the beginning. Not only do I need to help my students grow in their grittiness, I can work on this myself. Hopefully, by working with the students in this area, I will see improvement in myself as well.

grit definition

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