On grit, boredom, free play, and climbing ropeless – The Weekly Recap

Here’s a short list of the things I’m reading, thinking about, and learning this week.


Putting Grit in It’s Place by David Brooks – If you’ve read my Twitter bio then you know that I’m somewhat of a grit skeptic. I hadn’t really pinned down why exactly, but my inclination was that many students that are the most disengaged come from difficult backgrounds. I worry that teachers begin to blame a lack of grit on student’s disengagement. While this is certainly true for some students, for others (that have have to work on top of school, take care of a family member(s), aren’t eating enough, don’t sleep enough, etc.) school takes a backseat. If you aren’t sure whether you’re going to have a meal that evening or not then learning quadratics doesn’t seem particularly important.

However, Brooks’ focus is on an aspect of grit that at times gets lost. That is that according to Angela Duckworth, the woman that wrote the book and gave the Ted Talk, passion is vital for grit. Essentially a person who is very gritty is not working on something they’re not passionate about. To ask a student to work his/her tail off daily in a subject that they aren’t passionate about doesn’t compute in the “grit world”. Anyway, read his article. You won’t be disappointed.


Sticking with the theme of “stuff in my Twitter Bio”, I heard an interesting perspective on boredom from Kevin King while listening to the On Being podcast by Krsita Tippett. Kevin talks about boredom and unstructured play and how it forced him and his friends to think more creatively. Jump right to the part where he talks about boredom by clicking here. The entire episode is located here.

I also read a great article on free play entitled The Importance of Free Play for Kids by Katie Arnold of Outside Magazine. Maybe the highlight for me was this excerpt that is approximately halfway through the article. Give it a read if you find a five free minutes.

A 2014 study from University of Colorado found that children between six and seven who engaged in less-structured activities like imaginative role-playing, reading for pleasure, and playing board games and tag demonstrated greater so-called “executive function,” or the ability to organize their time, initiate tasks, and achieve goals without external direction—skills which help build self-reliance and success later in life (and ensure that they’re not still living at home when they’re 30).


My favorite podcast from this week was The Tim Ferriss Show: Assessing Risk and Living Without a Rope – Lessons from Alex Honnold. Alex Honnold is probably the worlds best free soloist rock climber. That basically means he climbs really tall rock things without a rope. Listen to him talk about how he handles fear, life living in a van, and a plethora of interesting stories.


This week I posted “Never stop learning – Life after my Master’s” in which I write about my plans for continuing to learn and grow as a person and professional, now that I’ve completed my master’s in educational technology. In short, you’ll be seeing more writing from me in various forms.


Thanks for reading!

Here’s an epic picture of Alex Honnold doing what he does.

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Image Credit: http://brooklynboulders.com/blog/alex-honnold-the-dawn-wall-and-how-to-transcend-the-rock-climbing-bubble/

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