Forensics and "Grit"

Posted on March 18, 2014 by Stephanie Alderdice

A recent NPR story began examining the role some educators believe "grit" plays in a student's success. As Tovia Smith points out, "Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it's that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback." Remember that old adage that failure isn't falling but refusing to get back up? It's very similar.

Megan Koch, Assistant Director of Forensics and Director of Individual Events at Illinois State University, pointed out just how crucial grit is in our activity:

"It amazes me how often educational researchers "realize" that there is one more super important thing that we aren't teaching our kids in schools....that Forensics has fostered all along. Here is one more. It turns out that it is important for kids to be "gritty," or learn how to succeed despite failure, setbacks and long odds. Anyone who has spent time trying to translate and adjust to judges' ballots, coaches' advice and teammates' pressure knows EXACTLY what this is."

Perhaps our new forensics adage should state, "The triumph isn't in the trophies but in the trying nonetheless."

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