• Aaron Daffern

Take CHARGE of the Classroom #7: Intrapersonal

This is post #7 in a 20-post series designed to disrupt outdated behavior management models and help you create the classroom culture of your dreams. This post contains excerpts from my book Take CHARGE of the Classroom.

Though we each have various degrees of innate abilities and physical characteristics, very little is out of our reach. When we see excellence and ascribe it to that person being a natural, we are in fact denigrating their achievement. Naturals don’t get noticed when that ability is divorced from effort. Inborn abilities, forged over time by persistence and determination, is what makes us gape.

The teaching point for children, then, is that everyone can make an effort. Some students might not ever have the body type typical of a professional athlete. They might face dyslexia, a weakness in computational proficiency, or memory retrieval deficiencies. What one achieves, however, has less to do with talent and more to do with effort. And everyone can have effort.

Students today need to understand that it is their effort and persistence, their grit, that will largely determine their future. Those other children that seem to have been dealt a winning hand might in fact flame out in a few years without the required effort. On the other hand, the world is replete with feel-good stories about people who overcame great adversities to fulfill their dreams. As teachers, we must emphasize that inborn abilities, left unattended, amount only to potential.

That’s the amazing part of understanding grit. Your effort counts twice and you have complete control over your effort!

Though natural talent is hit-and-miss, it’s effort in developing that talent that turns it into skill.

And everyone owns their effort!

Once we’ve honed a skill through determination and perseverance, the skill morphs into achievement through more effort.

And everyone owns their effort!

What can you do tomorrow?

Focus on effort. Talk to your students about grit and perseverance. Highlight the fact that the most important factor is effort and everyone owns their effort.

Highlight grit. Share a personal story with them about how grit helped you accomplish a goal. Start to integrate grit and perseverance into the attitudes and actions you notice among your students.

What does this look like in the classroom?

The teacher supports the development of grit by:

· Highlighting the importance of effort over talent;

· Providing unstructured time for students to develop their interests; and

· Designing practice and feedback sessions to grow students’ skills.