Sunday, January 3, 2016

Favorite comments of '15, cont: SteveH and Barry Garelick

On Modern Day Calvinisim, II: predicting grit:

SteveH said...
Let's calibrate this. How much grit is needed for children to learn to tie their shoes? How much grit is needed to learn adds and subtracts to 20 in first grade? How about fluency in fractions by sixth grade? Was grit the problem when many bright kids in my son's fifth grade EM class still did not know the times table?

What, exactly, is the problem? Some look to NAEP or PISA even though the statistical level of learning that would cause extreme happiness in the hearts of educators is really low. It's definitely not STEM level. Forget the fact that those who might have STEM potential (using grit or not) don't get that curriculum by definition. Forget the fact that education is about maximizing individual opportunities, not raising statistical averages.

When has grit gone from something needed to achieve the highest levels to something needed to be able to learn to tie your shoes? Educators can go ahead and NOT provide a STEM curriculum and then blame a lack of grit, parents who don't understand EM or TERC, poverty, peers, whatever. Anything but look in the mirror at their own assumptions. Unfortunately, if you take away their assumptions, they have nothing left. We already know what they think about "mere" facts and "superficial knowledge."
Barry Garelick said...
SMP1 from Common Core is interpreted along "grit" sensibilities: "Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them." I've observed teachers give students problems and tell them "struggle is good". Yes, a bit of struggle IS good if it whets the appetite for a proper explanation to follow. In that vain, instruction in general is necessary if you really want students to "persevere". A "just in time" learning approach is not going to cut it. But then as Steve H says, lack of grit is always there as the ultimate scapegoat. Aka: It's the student's fault.

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