Why Would We NOT Want Schools To Teach ‘Grit’, ‘Tenacity’ and ‘Perseverance’?
True Grit is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time (both versions!). I LOVED the plucky spunk – grit – of Mattie Ross who stood against unbelievable odds and won the respect of a drunk old cowboy named “Rooster” – to find the killer of her father.
Note: No one in that movie taught Mattie Ross how to be ‘gritty’ – she didn’t learn it in her one-room school house – no teacher explained to her how exactly to behave. Mattie was apparently born a gritty young woman, but throughout the movie, we see her tenacity only increase as her mettle was tested again and again through uncertain and tough circumstances.
So why have we somehow decided that schools should teach ‘grit’, ‘tenacity’ and ‘perseverance’?
ROPE asked this question during the common core years over and over and over again.
Here’s the deal – no matter what any educrat says – THESE ARE NOT TEACHABLE CONCEPTS.
There is no curriculum that can do it. There is no teacher in the world that can instill them. They are personality traits and one cannot ‘teach’ an intangible concept, the extent of which varies from individual to individual, and the creation of which depends upon exposure to infinitely many and different tough sets of circumstances.
The idea that we can character concepts to children is inspired entirely upon the concept of collectivism – like everything else in ‘formal education’ given us by democratic socialists Horace Mann and John Dewey – who believed that somehow, collectively, once students are all in a room together, intangible personality traits can be cultivated by exposure to a teacher/counselor/guide imparting the right ‘skill set’ rather than exposure to difficult and/or trying circumstances.
Grit, tenacity and perseverance can only be developed in a classroom when students are taught age-appropriate/developmentally-appropriate content in their subjects (reading, math, history, English, science) and then expected to meet difficult, but reasonable, reachable goals set for them on a consistent basis and adhered to without exception. These circumstances PRODUCE grit, tenacity and perseverance in students, not some magical word potion from a teacher.
We don’t provide that circumstantial framework today, however. We don’t teach age-appropriate/developmentally-appropriate curriculum anymore – it’s been diluted by years of parent complaints that material is ‘too hard’ or there’s ‘too much’ homework, and by ever-changing guidelines established by ever-changing education fads created by authoritarian educrats who develop vapid, moronic and damaging curricula such as COMMON CORE, SEL, OUTCOMES-BASED EDUCATION, WHOLE CHILD, ect., while gazing out the windows of their ivory towers dreaming of molding the ‘perfect society’.
It’s no wonder we have kids who’d rather stay home from work when the government waves a check under their nose – they’ve never been expected to produce anything that takes even a modicum of effort during any of the formative years. They’ve never experienced the INFECTIOUS JOY of meeting a goal they once thought insurmountable, or even extraordinarily difficult.
Excepting possibly through sports – and the classrooms of the few good teachers left – students are not only not getting challenged, but they’re not being taught much that’s actually useful for either their own edification and personal growth, or for finding and sustaining gainful employment.
Still and all, we throw hard-earned tax dollar after tax dollar at the system as though THAT will somehow overcome the fact that public education wasn’t even founded for the right purpose – exposure to the concepts of truth and beauty for the edification and personal growth of individual children – not instruction in skill sets deemed necessary by a government to sustain an economy.