Self Regulated Learning Isn’t the Same as Grit

Although much of my (our . . . my . . . ugh! I never should have tried being cute with pronouns) work here is about helping teachers understand technology better, as well as providing some guidance into current research in the field, that’s not all there is. I personally think – and since most of us here are teachers, I’m sure you’ll agree – that we are one of the most overworked and underpaid group in the workforce. And I think we need to look at that more closely, pay attention to it and provide some resources for our exhausted educational personnel out there. The next couple of posts take a more holistic view of learning, first from the side of the student and then from the instructor.

The painful reality of any kind of creative work is that it’s not always going to be a home run and this post may well be a perfect example of just that. However, I’ve taken this into consideration, and I’m going for it anyway. This post is a poem. That’s right. YOU try and write a poem about peer-reviewed academic research. At some point in the future I might work on a song and then you’ll really be sorry. But for the time being, I’m taking a lesson from my own work, and I’m adding a little more grit in my life.

Also, because this is a poem, I’ve taken a few (many, lots, tons of) liberties with the information from my source by Wolters and Hussain (2015) which is called, “Investigating grit and its relations with college students’ self-regulated learning and academic achievement.” I always suggest that you read the source material to get a better understanding of the research, but in this case it’s especially useful.



Grit and How to Get It

If I happen to make a small error or two, It doesn’t matter to me, does it matter to you?

It’s not always easy and often it’s hard, Present to be perfect and keep up your guard.

I’m a hard worker and easy it comes, Still you don’t know the effort to which I succumb.

But how do we labor while not giving up? It’s not always as easy to keep looking up.

The researchers say that the answer is grit, It’s easy to rhyme and it means never do quit.

An error or three are all par for the course, It’s expected and common, get back on that horse.

I learn from mistakes and I’m sure you do too, The point is to continue until you are through.

Success isn’t promised or fully assured, Keep up the hard work until you’ve endured.

When we learn that the lessons come from the mistakes, Then we open our eyes becoming completely awake.

Grit is our character and something that’s fixed, And character more than brains should not be eclipsed.

But what are the traits that make up this grit? Beside perseverance, there must more to it than this.

Self-regulated learning are the behaviors that comprise it, Strategies are cognitive, meta and the ability to manage your environment,

The findings show that there are things you can do, To help the gritless and listless to go on and see through.

And these are the techniques that teachers can help with, Show students the tools that can manage their school life with.

Time seems to be a key element of SR and L, And to work within that parameter can help you as well.

Help them to see that to manage their time, Is one way to encourage success to thrive in their lives.

To focus on educational goals an excellent way, To encourage the student to get up and go to class every possible day.

We can also work to focus their goals, And remember that mine are not always yours.

If we see the importance it’s easier to maintain Our interest and focus, rather than give in and engage in blame.

The trials and failures can cause us to fall down, But with practice and tools we turn it around.


And to shove it down your throats a little bit more, here is one of my favorite songs on grit.

Things to think on (and maybe answer in the comment section):

  1. Have you done much thinking about what motivates your students? Explain.
  2. Do you assume that they are similarly motivated as you are?
  3. Can you focus a bit more on understanding your students’ motivation?
  4. Can you add some information on time management into your curriculum?


Christopher A. Wolters & Maryam Hussain. (2015). Investigating grit and its relations with college students’ self-regulated learning and academic achievement. Metacognition Learning, 10, 293–311. DOI 10.1007/s11409-014-9128-9

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