Incorporating the teaching of grit

I am blessed with the opportunity to teach students who are driven to want to achieve. As newly arrived immigrants and refugees given a new chance to make a new world for themselves, motivating them to work hard is rarely a problem. But now that I’m teaching a slightly higher level of students, those who have been in the system for about a year, I have had the opportunity to see how some of my earlier students are faring after a year. 

A few are losing their way, especially when they are older (about 18) and see how frustratingly slow their progress is. All they want to do is get into mainstream as soon as possible, before they are too old to fit in. This is how I see the relevance of this issue of teaching grit. Watch this video Duckworth at Ted Talks featuring Angela Lee Duckworth on Ted Talks as she talks about grit. Then look at how this concept is incorporated by a teacher in the classroom in this video  Teaching grit posted on 

This term my english unit focuses on biographies. As always, I have built the programme with the constant awareness that students must see their learning as relevant to themselves.  I have deliberately chosen characters who can be relevant to my students own experiences. I will begin my unit, looking at Amelia Earhart, and tying it to my students desire to do something more with their lives and with a look at the role of women and the dreams that women should be allowed to pursue. Within the video, there is a reference to the need to being useful in our aspirations for our future. That is a take that I will be incorporating into my programme too. 

Scroll down the page of this post on Teaching grit for a curriculum pdf and some other useful resources. 


Do preschoolers learn English the same way new ESL adolescent learners do?

Well, the answer is no. But the difficulty is in identifying the overlap of skills, approaches and needs. Shahanan posted a powerpoint detailing some concepts that should be incorporated into a preschoolers program – Two things I have already incorporated into my programme for the new term ( 4 days from now) is the incorporation of skill development in phonological awareness and the development of deeper vocabulary. 

Video Example of Identifying ELL students

Click on the link below to view an interesting video that looks at how newly arrived students are screened for the esl programme. 

In my school’s context, students coming in are screened during similar interviews and given a written test to ascertain their levels. This interview focuses more on the screening based on the questioning of parents. 

The area of concern we have is the written tests. We still haven’t found the right tests ( those simple enough to administer at the initial stage) that can indicate where to place students. This video points out that students are placed in the teachers classroom for a 10 day period during which time the ESL teacher assesses the student. 

This is the reality of what happens in our situation too. Unfortunately, invariably, we have students have been placed in the wrong class. Personally, I don’t think it is good for newly arrived immigrants to go through this insecure period of not really being able to fit in. I’m looking at how we can make the assessments more reliable so that the students can be placed relatively accurately in the right class. This is important given that within the intensive learning programme students go through a 10 week programme. 10 days of trying to ascertain the ESL learners position and placing them correctly is too long.

Building Bridges - ESL

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