professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Mindsets and Programs and Grit, Oh Dear!

It seems I cannot read an issue of a journal or education newsletter without encountering terms such as grit, growth mindset, and other jargon, edubabble, eduspeak. I am not sure what to call these terms. When I look up grit, the first definition still has to do with something abrasive. And I do find it irritating that we feel the need to make kids grittier than they already need to be. So, let's begin with grit, shall we?

I do not often write about my childhood, but I guess by today's standards, it might have been called gritty. Thank heavens that my teachers did not feel the need to make me grittier. Instead, they provided me a place that was safe and warm and accepting. Don't get me wrong. There were expectations, and I did my best to meet them. Often for me, school was a refuge. And I was not alone.

The same is true for so many of our kids today. They are leading lives with more than sufficient grittiness. They need an environment that is nurturing, not one that makes them grittier. Last night Nancy Pelosi talked about working with some elementary kids in a classroom. A balloon popped and the kids went into their duck and cover drill automatically. These kids need safety and security. I seem to recall that Maslow's hierarchy of needs includes the need to be safe, the need to belong, the need to have physiological needs met. I do not recall a place on that pyramid of needs for grit. Did Piagetian theory get a facelift to include a new stage of development centered on grit? Kohlberg? Ericson? Havighurst?

Maybe I am just naïve, living in a world separate from reality. Maybe today's kids need the grit like an oyster needs a tiny grain of sand to worry into a pearl? But maybe, just maybe, kids are different. Maybe, just maybe, they can produce pearls without the added abrasion.
Tags: abrasion, abrasive, grit
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