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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Washington Post: Jenkins: Lessons From the School of Hardwood

No such thing as grit? The science says otherwise:

If you detect something profound in the NCAA tournament, there is no need to apologize, because you are right, according to renowned neurobiologist Angela Lee Duckworth. A MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” recipient who has her own research lab at the University of Pennsylvania, Duckworth studies traits that predict achievement, and her special focus is on the quality known as “grit.” It’s not just a descriptive term the way Duckworth understands and employs it.

Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals,” Duckworth writes.

She has developed a measurement for it by studying a range of achievers from West Point cadets, to National Spelling Bee winners, to the Seattle Seahawks, and is at work on a book about it. Her work shows that it’s a more important factor in success than talent, IQ or privilege.

In 2013, Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll saw a TED Talk by Duckworth, who is a Harvard- and Oxford-educated psychologist, and became fascinated. They began a series of conversations that helped Carroll refine what the Seahawks look for in players. Early in her research career, Duckworth developed a questionnaire to turn grit into a metric: By scoring the answers to a dozen queries, she rated people on a scale of 1 to 5. (I got a 4.3).

What Duckworth didn’t know was whether grit could be taught as well as measured. Carroll assured her that it could be: Coaches do it all the time. He offered up the Seahawks as a kind of laboratory for her. Duckworth will be visiting them in May. Duckworth is deeply interested in how to teach grit, because she did a stint as a public school math teacher in New York. At the heart of it is the ability to respond to failure or adversity, rather than give up.

Ignore the column’s emphasis on basketball; focus on grit, the greatest of all virtues.

The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 31, 2015 at 08:47 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, coaching, grit, ncaa, science, testing

 

 

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