GRIT IS A GOOD THING, BUT …

#grit #innovate #GradePointAverage
Creative people are good at asking new questions, but the grade-point average rewards those who can answer other people’s questions.
So writes New York Times columnist David Brooks, in a column published in the May 13, 2016, edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Brooks calls the grade-point average “one of the more destructive elements in American education.”
“In life, we want independent thinking and risk-taking, but the GPA system encourages students to be deferential and risk-averse, giving their teachers what they want,” Brooks writes.
In other words, the education system highly rewards students who are good at a lot of things, rather than those who are very good at one or two things.
Even if you are not good at something, the education system wants students to use their grit, and do things they don’t like, to grind out a good GPA.
There is certainly nothing wrong with grit. It helps people overcome obstacles and gets people through difficult times.
But the education system is designed for students to learn things, and they are evaluated by how well they can spit those things back.
“Schools across America are busy teaching their students to be gritty and to have ‘character’ – by which they mean skills like self-discipline and resilience that contribute to career success,” Brooks writes.
In other words, they teach kids to be good employees, rather than innovators.
In today’s world, innovators are handsomely rewarded, providing they solve a problem that needs solving.
In one adage, the “A” students end up working for the “C” students.
How does one deal with this?
There are a couple of ways. First, be a rebel.
Take the grit that you learned to develop in school, and use it to innovate.
Thomas Edison tried many times before he successfully invented the light bulb, so he had enough grit to know to stay with his idea.
If you are not an innovator, or if you have resigned yourself that you will work for someone else forever, there are many alternative ways to make money outside of a traditional job. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Sometimes duplication, rather than innovation, can create potential fortunes.
As for the education system, it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Learning is difficult to quantify, and the GPA system is, up to now, the best way educators have found to quantify learning.
In recent times, an array of competency tests has come into vogue. These tests have been used to evaluate teachers, much to the chagrin of the educators.
A good teacher should not be penalized, since students’ performance on competency tests can be attributed to many things.
So use the education system to cultivate grit, but use that grit to go out and do great things for others.
Peter

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