Putting Grit in Its Place

By David Brooks from New York Times

How do we help students connect with their ‘deep longing’ rather than the expectations of others?

In his recent Op-Ed, Brooks writes, “Gritty people are resilient and hard working, sure. But they also, she [Duckworth] writes, know in a very, very deep way what it is they want.

This is a crucial leap. It leads to a very different set of questions and approaches. How do we help students decide what they want? How do we improve the quality and ardor of their longing?”

He goes on to say, “Suppose you were designing a school to help students find their own clear end — as clear as that one. Say you were designing a school to elevate and intensify longings. Wouldn’t you want to provide examples of people who have intense longings? Wouldn’t you want to encourage students to be obsessive about worthy things? Wouldn’t you discuss which loves are higher than others and practices that habituate them toward those desires? Wouldn’t you be all about providing students with new subjects to love?

In such a school you might even de-emphasize the G.P.A. mentality, which puts a tether on passionate interests and substitutes other people’s longings for the student’s own.”

What do you think? Please comment below.

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