Why We Don’t Celebrate “Easy”

Posted by Templeton Academy

student-centered learning, grit


"Achievement = Talent + Effort"

Angela Duckworth, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

The way we think about educating children and preparing them for their future is changing. Information that you can learn from a textbook is not enough. As educators, we know that a student’s ability to be resilient in the learning environment is critical for their success in school and beyond. At Blyth-Templeton Academy, when our students are highly engaged in learning, we see the value of effort, or in Professor Duckworth's term, grit.

What is Grit?

Grit, the ability to persevere in the face of difficulty, is built by setting, working toward and achieving goals. At Blyth-Templeton, we want students to see school as more than a mandatory activity. It’s a chance to achieve what may seem impossible: giving a speech, mastering a second language, understanding Shakespeare, solving difficult math problems.

We understand that dealing with frustration is difficult for anyone, and especially students. Working through the hard times, however, is the best way to become independent learners and develop real-world skills. That’s why we push our students through difficult spots and encourage them to keep going when things get tough. By praising students for doing something that they think is difficult and they do not enjoy, we can support the idea that hard work leads to a real sense of accomplishment. They recognize the value of their efforts.


For all the work we do, the work is tough, but we're doing it for a reason, and we're actually benefitting from the work.” A 12th-grade student

"I think you can put in the work that you want to put in, but you have to talk to your teachers a lot outside of class, you have to reach out to them and take the initiative." A 12th-grade student


In the real world, we don't celebrate "easy." Things that are fun, or simply interesting and engaging don't lead to the sense of accomplishment that results from a difficult challenge. As educators, we need to create safe environments that encourage students to set goals that stretch their abilities, and, at times risk failure. Momentary failure sets the conditions for reflective analysis and new strategies that open opportunities for success. The is the kind of accomplishment that builds self-confidence. Our students deserve this.

"I enjoy struggling with a hard question even if that means answering incorrectly. I now feel like I could hold my own in my discussions.” A 9th-grade student


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About Templeton Academy

Temp Keller
Templeton Academy is an experiential micro school with locations on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and in Nashville, TN. It offers an academically rigorous curriculum designed to foster intellectual curiosity through active learning and community exploration. The small class sizes ensure that each student has a front row seat in classes with an average size of 10. Our model combines a warm, inviting atmosphere with great teaching that allows our students to flourish. Schedule a visit soon.

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