Grit Discussion Questions

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has a Doctorate of Education and over 15 years of experience teaching psychology and math related courses at the university level.

High school students discuss the concept of success achieved through grit as described in Angela Duckworth's book 'Grit.' Discussion questions encourage students to critically review Duckworth's claims and the style in which they are presented.

Discussing Grit by Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth's Grit is a manual for success and achievement based on a prescribed formula of perseverance. Duckworth defines grit as intentional effort and long-term perseverance. Her work presents formal psychological research results and academic research to support her formula for how to achieve.

High school students and new college students would benefit from a close review of Duckworth's findings. The discussion questions offered here will guide your students through the work and help them clarify their understanding of the information presented.

General Discussion by Lesson

  • Discuss the use of clearly defined lessons in this book.
    • Did the organization of the book work for you?
    • Do you feel any lessons were missing from the author's work?

Lesson 1

  • Nature or nurture:
    • Are we born with abilities or must we work on all skills?
    • Do you agree with the author that humans secretly believe in talent over effort?
    • If you have a natural ability for something, does that mean you do not have to work hard at it?
  • Discuss the use of statistics and research in the early section of the book.
    • Was this a good way for the author to make her point?
    • Would you have started differently?
    • How did you respond, as a reader, to the strong research reported?

Lesson 2

  • What makes a person 'gritty'?
    • Do you agree with the author's definition of a gritty person?
    • What characteristics of grit would you include in your definition?
  • Discuss the formula given for achievement in Lesson 2
    • skill(talent x effort) x effort = achievement.
  • This formula shows effort being used twice; once to create skill and then again to make achievement.
    • Do you agree that achievement is a result of exponential effort?
    • Can achievement be a result of luck? Inheritance? Innate talent?
  • What is kaizen and how does it apply to the concept of grit?
    • Do you agree with Ericsson that it takes thousands of hours and decades to become an expert at something?

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