A couple of weeks ago I posted on “grit” as the key element to being successful not only in learning languages, but also in life in general. The basic idea was that there is no proven correlation between success and IQ or innate talent. The one thing that became clear from research was that the key to success was grit – “passion and perseverance for your long term goals” (Angela Lee Duckworth).
Since publishing the original post, I’ve been meaning to put the theory into practice. I finally managed to do so two days ago, and I wanted to share with you below the lesson procedure I used. I deliberately chose this 1-1 student as the first guinea pig, because she’s repeatedly expressed her concern about her supposed lack of flare for languages. She’s also started to doubt whether she can improve.
Overall, the student responded very positively, and was really keen to learn more about the subject. So, I’m planning to weave in some more on motivation and good learner traits (see my post on MORE learners) in the future classes. Of course, only time will show whether my student’s newly-sparked “grit” will persevere.
If you end up using the lesson plan or something similar with your students, please do let me know about the reaction, feedback and effects. I’d be very curious to know whether we can actually teach our students to be grittier and more determined, and whether this in turn can improve their progress.
- learn how to listen better to TED talks through predicting the content and reading the speaker’s bio note
- discuss the concept of grit and motivate the student to learn
- Speaker Orientation: (NOTE: Set a strict time limit and if highlight the students should note down whole chunks of language rather than single words) You are going to listen to Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED talk. Before you do so, prepare for the listening by reading her short bio. Read the text quickly and write down 5 expressions (2 – 4 words) that will help you remember it. Retell the text to your partner/teacher.
“In her late 20s, Angela Lee Duckworth left a demanding job as a management consultant at McKinsey to teach math in public schools in San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York. After five years of teaching seventh graders, she went back to grad school to complete her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is now an assistant professor in the psychology department. Her research subjects include students, West Point cadets, and corporate salespeople, all of whom she studies to determine how “grit” is a better indicator of success than factors such as IQ or family income”. (http://www.ted.com/speakers/angela_lee_duckworth.html)
- What is the purpose of exercise 5? How does it help you understand the video?
- How is task 6 different from task 7? Which is more difficult?
- What tips for better listening have you learned today? How can you apply them at home?
- “Grit is passion and _______________ for very long-term ________.”
- “Grit is having ___________. Grit is sticking with your future — day in, day ______, not just for the week, not just for the __________, but for years — and working really hard to make that future a __________.”
- “Grit is living life like it’s a ___________, not a sprint.”
- How do you understand the concept of “grit”?
- How is it related to/different from motivation and determination?
- Do you have “grit”? Do you know anybody who does?
- What makes people successful?
- Which is more important: talent or grit?How can you cultivate grit?
- What can you do personally to become more gritty?
NOTE: One possible follow up is to do ‘going to’ and write down a list of things students can do to be more gritty.
Another logical follow up would be to ask the students to watch a TED talk and use the listening techniques practised in class to help them understand it better. Next class they report both on the content of the video and on their experience using the techniques.