Persistence Tip 3. Nurture a Persistence Mindset

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Teach Persistence

Dr. Jeanne L. Paynter 

Why do some learners have negative mindsets about their aptitude for persistence

Traumatic experiences are likely to result in wrong “cause and effect” stories our mind forms about our persistence, such as: I’m helpless, hesitant, unsure, disconnected, unmotivated, aimless, weak, lazy, quitting. Our mind continually seeks to make meaning through narratives that help us function. The stories are mostly helpful, but the brain hates “gaps” and rapidly fills in answers which sometimes are plain wrong and harmful. 

We can replace the wrong stories our learners tell themselves about persistence with new narratives, right in the context of our regular classroom/curriculum. In Persistence #2 Overwrite Wrong Mindsets with Right Ones, we saw how setting “persistence talent goals” can rewrite those false stories.

First, we give learners a new personal narrative to tell their brains using this Student Directed Goal: I am persistent. I focus energy and effort on a task.  I continue working even when it is difficult, trying different methods to improve and refine.

Next, we make persistence the focus of instruction using Talent Goals. Talent Goals begin with "aptitude action statements:  Use your persistence to…(content/skill/task). Complete this aptitude action statement with the content, skills, and tasks in your regular curriculum.

Your new Talent Goal shifts the learning emphasis to personal talent development over impersonal content acquisition to instantly create a student-centered approach. Now learning is about me developing my persistence by… conducting research, writing a speech, solving an equation, etc.  

Talent Goals empower a new cause and effect relationship between persistence and the task at hand.  Remember, the brain loves causation!  With a Talent Goal, learners see a new cause and effect relationship between what they are learning and their personal purpose.  They are more motivated to learn content that might that might not have engaged them before.  A new mindset! 

I developed the Persistence Learning Progressions (see below) to foster a growth mindset. Each stage defines the behaviors that take learning to the next level. No deficit thinking here! 

Note that even the emerging stage is written in statements of ability, what I can do: “I work on a task for what I think is enough.”  Yes, and you here's how you can grow. The progressing stage adds the growth attributes of completion and refinement.  Advancing adds the concepts of difficulty, testing alternatives, and using that data to improve.

In what ways might you use the persistence Talent Goals the Learning Progressions to develop new mindsets about persistence in your classroom?

Learn more about using Student Directed Goals and Talent Aptitude Learning Progressions to teach persistence and the other aptitudes of innovators learners in Teach to Develop Talent: How to Motivate and Engage Tomorrow’s Learners Today.  And you’ll want to check out this great resource: the online self-paced interactive Teach to Develop Talent Book Study

 I'd like to serve as your personal Teach to Develop Talent coach!  Contact me to talk about your needs and goals. [email protected]



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