From the Headmaster’s Office: Teaching resilience

PUBLISHED: 10:28 19 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:28 19 April 2016

Teaching children to be resilient can help in certain circumstances

Teaching children to be resilient can help in certain circumstances

(C) Chris Taylor Photo

Is teaching grit and determination worth it, asks Robin Gainher, headmaster of Beeston Hall School in West Runton

According to some well respected research recently carried out on 4,600 twins the study found that having “grit” contributed to only 0.5pc of achievement at GCSE. Instead the researchers found that the biggest predictor of GCSE success was intelligence, which accounts for about 40pc of achievement. Behaviour, home and school environment and motivation make up another four percent. A further 50pc cannot be predicted.

There has been a focus on teaching “character” and “resilience” in schools during the past couple of years. Indeed the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, announced a £5m plan in 2014 to teach “character and resilience” in schools to make England’s pupils “grittier”.

Taken in isolation, investing in teaching grit and determination would seem on the face of it to be a poor investment given it leads to only a 0.5pc improvement in GCSE results. However, as one of the study’s authors agreed: “Clearly children will face challenges where qualities of perseverance are likely to be advantageous”.

Surely there is also a compelling case to understand better what the 50pc consists of that cannot be predicted. Herein lies the key to success in schools better understanding how we can help improve children’s results. I suspect it has something to do with the quality of teaching and learning, just a hunch.

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