Overcoming Adversity

How do you teach perseverance? And what does that mean for today’s students?

Sometimes, when people talk about perseverance, it’s as if they’re saying we just need to tell kids to toughen up. Instead, EduGuide focuses on proactively teaching students a set of specific skills that lead to higher levels of perseverance and thus higher achievement.

Our goal is to equip every student with the skills they need to reach their potential.

Teaching students about resilience

Here’s an activity to use with your students to get the conversation started, based on a poem by late rapper Tupac Shakur (bet your students didn’t know he wrote poetry!).

This activity introduces one element of Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intentions (MCII), developed by psychologist Dr. Gabriele Oettingen. Her research indicates that it’s an effective skill for helping students learn to overcome obstacles. And MCII has been shown to contribute to higher achievement.

Defining obstacles and solutions

It’s important to note, though, that successfully teaching perseverance and other core learning skills involves a range of factors. For instance, this activity does not teach the full MCII process, but rather is an introductory exercise to meet students where they are. It can help them start to think concretely about defining obstacles in their life and specific steps they can take to overcome them. In our work, we’ve found that getting students familiar with this part of the process is a critical step.

Going deeper with the process

Secondly, the value of the exercise will depend on how deep the teacher goes with the students in encouraging them to be specific in their answers. Our online tools automate that process, but in the classroom teachers will find that their students get more from the exercise if they’re asked follow up questions, such as “what about that is an obstacle.”

Finally, it’s helpful to focus on goals that students have some confidence about overcoming. Some studies have shown that using MCCI in areas where the student lacks confidence can undermine its effectiveness.

To learn more about how EduGuide helps students become more resilient, schedule a strategy call with our team.

Related:

The Importance of Failure

Reducing Student Anxiety

 

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