Grit seems to be the latest educational buzz word these days. According to psychologist Angela Duckworth “grit is a better indicator of GPA and graduation rates. [then IQ]” What is grit? It seems loosely defined to me but perseverance is a big part of it. As is resilience. The big question for educators seems to be can we teach it? If it is so important than teaching it becomes a goal to think about. And the question of can we teach it and how to teach it seems to be about as open as defining what it is.
It seems though that students learning computer programming, at least those who are successful at it, are learning some grit in the process. After all if you are the type to gives up when faced with problems than you are not going to be successful at programming. Various barriers from syntax errors to logic errors to things just not being the same as one is used to thinking are going to stare one in the face. Overcoming them is a key part of learning to program. It doesn’t matter if programming is on a par with brain surgery or something anyone can learn it still takes a certain amount of grit to succeed.
I know we have to help students and keep them from getting too frustrated but to some degree we have to let them work though things on their own. They learn the most from solving their own problems. And if along the way they learn some perseverance and resilience or even grit that’s a good thing.
What do you think? Does learning to program teach grit? And if so does it do it better than some other subjects we already force kids to take?
A couple of posts on grit by Vicki Davis may be worth a read BTW.