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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Resilience and Grit: Resource Roundup

Explore a curated collection of videos, interviews, and articles from around the web for adults looking to build resilience and grit in young people.
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There’s been a lot of talk lately about resilience (bouncing back from adversity) and grit (persevering through challenges), including the skills associated with these processes and their importance for student well-being and academic success. Edutopia has created this curated list of resources to help educators and parents follow the discussion and create home and school environments that provide supports and opportunities to help students thrive.

Nurturing Resilience

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Fostering Grit

  • Q&A with Daniel Goleman: How the Research Supports Social-Emotional Learning (Edutopia, 2014)

    In this Q&A, Daniel Goleman discusses grit – including some of its criticisms -- and what the research says about how social and emotional learning impacts academic achievement.

  • What’s Wrong With Grit? (The Berkeley Blog, 2014)

    Vicki Zakrzewski reviews some factors educators ought to consider in relation to the research on grit and grit’s place in the larger puzzle of human development.

  • Teaching Grit Cultivates Resilience and Perseverance (Edutopia, 2014)

    In rural New Hampshire, fifth-grade teacher Amy Lyon has created a curriculum based on researcher Angela Duckworth’s ideas about grit. Students set and work toward their own long-term goals, learning valuable lessons about dealing with frustration and distractions along the way.

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Teaching Growth Mindset

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Managing Stress

  • Can Stress Help Students? (Edutopia, 2015)

    Stress might not always be the enemy. Research shows that positive stress can strengthen the immune system, enhance memory and learning, and improve decision-making skills.

  • Stress-Reduction Activities for Students (Edutopia, 2014)

    This handbook from Glenview Elementary presents practical and fun classroom activities that promote stress-management skills for students.

  • Strategies to Prevent the Neurotoxic Impact of School Stress (Edutopia, 2013)

    Neurologist, teacher, and author Judy Willis presents evidence that boredom can actually be bad for our students' brain development and discusses strategies for boosting relevance and helping students build executive functions.

  • Helping Students Manage Stress, Set Goals, and Feel Connected (Edutopia, 2012)

    Inspired by Paul Tough's new book, blogger Elena Aguilar offers ways to help students set goals, handle stress, and connect with school community. For more about the San Francisco school she mentions and their schoolwide stress-reduction efforts, check out Edutopia's Schools that Work coverage (2012): Tackling Truancy, Suspensions, and Stress.

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Learning From Failure

  • Five-Minute Film Festival: Freedom to Fail Forward (Edutopia, 2015)

    Knowing how to learn from failure can be a key to success. In this playlist, VideoAmy curates the best videos and resources for encouraging students to be resilient and embrace mistakes.

  • It’s a Mistake Not to Use Mistakes as Part of the Learning Process (Edutopia, 2014)

    Consider these nine ways to teach with mistakes, including removing the stigma from error, explaining wrong answers, and helping students see mistakes as growth experiences.

  • Teaching Students to Embrace Mistakes (Edutopia, 2014)

    Hunter Maats and Katie O'Brien, teachers and authors, discuss the value of making mistakes and helping students adopt the mindset to view their mistakes as healthy challenges rather than crushing defeats.

  • How to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Failure (Greater Good, 2013)

    Vicki Zakrzewski, education director of the Greater Good Science Center, discusses Martin Covington’s research on failure and three strategies educators can use to help students overcome their fear of failure to become success- rather than failure-oriented.

  • Making Friends With Failure (Edutopia, 2013)

    Ainissa Ramirez suggests that we make friends with failure in the academic world -- because for scientists, failure is just another word for data.

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Responding to Trauma and Tragedy

  • "It's Not What's Wrong With the Children, It's What's Happened to Them" (Edutopia, 2015)

    Instead of punitive discipline that limits students' potential, we must adopt a more holistic approach and address the life circumstances that are causing their behavior.

  • Helping Kids Recover From Trauma (Edutopia, 2009)

    Andrea Orr describes how schools can foster resilience by focusing on internal and external supports, helping students build confidence, and encouraging the development of a strong sense of personal identity.

  • Tips for Resilience in the Face of Horror (Greater Good, 2013)

    Jason March, founding editor-in-chief of Greater Good, describes how educators and parents can help protect children and themselves from the effects of vicarious trauma. The linked article, "Resources for Helping Children Cope with Trauma," is also worth reading.

  • Talking to Your Children About Tragedy (Bright Horizons, 2013)

    In this video, Brendamarie Contreras, director at Bright Horizons, discusses relevant principles parents can consider in relation to young children and personal or family reactions to traumatic events. Though the introduction to the video is focused on Boston, the principles discussed can be applied to a wide variety of situations.

  • Responding to Tragedy: Resources for Educators (Edutopia, 2013)

    Matt Davis has compiled some useful resources with guidance for adults looking to help children through trauma, grief, and natural disasters.

  • Supporting Grieving Students (Edutopia, 2015)

    It's important for educators to reach out to grieving students. Discover guidance and resources to support this difficult task. You may also want to read this earlier post by Chris Park, "5 Tips for Supporting Grieving Students."

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Do you know of other useful resources, or are there other types of resources you'd like to see included on this page? Please share your feedback in the comments.

Comments (16)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Betsye Sargent's picture
Betsye Sargent
Founder, head, and PK-3 teacher at he Phoenix School in Salem, MA

Very important topic, but all your excellent resources are for adults. Has anyone developed a list of books for kids that demonstrate grit?

Lessia Bonn's picture
Lessia Bonn
co-founder I am Bullyproof Music

This is a GREAT list, Edutopia. As usual, we will post and pin this everywhere appropriate. And since you asked...Teaching grit is our specialty!

We teach "grit" with songs and lessons that contain deep SEL. We have received countless enthusiastic letters (and even videos!) from teachers sharing with us that our "Fearless" song has become their "classroom song and motto. "Fearless" not only inspires students to stay on task, it also reminds us all we are more the same than different at our core. Not a bad life lesson. Our song "Whatever" reminds kids that "Whatever feels better." Another person's bad mood need not become our own. "Nonconformist" teaches kids that being different can be very very cool-- something to be proud of. And that inner knowledge gives kids grit!

It's hard to remain focused while being bashed around by outside influences. How can sweet little Olivia stay fascinated with her math problems if little Max keeps teasing her about being fat? All she can think about is how she wants to slap Max... or worse, how fat or un-fat she is. We offer kids alternate suggestions on how to resolve social challenges. Teaching grit is us: and also at TPT.

Suggestion; We involve our own students when we make little lesson vids on SEL subjects and strongly encourage other teachers to do the same. It's surprising how much instinctive wisdom kids come up with on the spot when asked to help teach others kids about the grit. When kids become the teachers, it's clear they learn more themselves!

Ashley Cronin's picture
Ashley Cronin
Digital Resource Curator

Betsye, an excellent point! So important! In "From Preschool to Adulthood: Building Social and Emotional Skills with Fiction," Maurice Elias suggests a book of stories for young children: Talking Treasure: Stories to Help Build Resilience and Emotional Intelligence in Young Children (Hankin, Omer, Elias, & Raviv, 2012). So, that might be worth checking out. Here's a book list that came to my attention last year (from Open Circle, Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College): "Open Circle's 'Top 25' List of Children's Literature that Connects to Social and Emotional Learning." Is anyone else aware of others?

finleyjd's picture
Cooperative Education Coordinator, Randolph Technical Career Center. #VTed

In the very near future a group of Rowland Foundation Fellows will be facilitating a Tweet Chat on Perseverance and Grit. The date and HashTag have not been set, but will be posted in the next few days.

One of our Fellows from the 2013 Cohort has been traveling the country to explore this topic in schools and will be helping to facilitate the conversation. Here is a link to his current work.

We invite anyone with an interest or experience in "Grit" to join us! More information and resources can be found here.

Rowland Foundation

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