From The Principal – Teachers Present Case Studies On Grit


Grit can be defined as the motivation, energy and drive that keeps a person on a difficult task over a sustained period. Sometimes we refer to it as ‘character’. Research tells us that grit is an indicator of future success, academically and socially. In a blog earlier in the year I was quoted as saying, “It’s not about teaching grit. It is about providing opportunities and challenges that allow grit to be developed.” So, how are teachers developing grit in our girls at Santa Maria College?

This week, 19 teachers presented case studies, from this year, on how they developed the skills of persistence and problem-solving amongst the girls, to their peers. Teachers were given the challenge of sharing examples from their Learning Area, in a short, sharp 5-minute presentation to teachers.

Some examples from the Showcase included:

  • Cryptograms in IGNITE
  • Learning from failure through coding robots to dance
  • Capsizing drills and dealing with inclement weather in Outdoor Education
  • ‘Give it a go’ mantra in PE classes and SPEP where girls take on the role of coach
  • English focusing on the attitude and language of improvement rather than using terms such as ‘could have’ and ‘should have’ in student self-reflection
  • Foods students being challenged to create recipes from a limited number of set ingredients.
  • Years 5 and 6 students being encouraged to answer their questions and ‘fix things for themselves’ and also being able to articulate what grit means.
  • Fashion students were required to state ‘this is what I think I should do next’ rather than asking ‘what’s next?’ and to unpick and resew until the standards were met.
  • Careers students focussed on developing the resilience, perseverance and tenacity they will need in today’s competitive job market.
  • Improvisation in Drama, encouraging risk-taking in a safe environment
  • Card games in Math to identify the emotions connected to challenge, perseverance and success
  • Rich tasks encouraging communication, teamwork and challenge in Religious Education
  • Providing feedback with grit in mind in Science
  • A positive and refreshing story of perseverance in our Visual Arts students

Some quotes from staff following the Showcase included:

It was fascinating to hear staff from different departments discuss the ways in which they had inspired students to approach challenges with confidence. Encouraging students to believe in their ability to grow undoubtedly leads to more courageous learning.

Rebecca Johnson, English

The diversity of what we are doing in the classrooms never ceases to amaze me. Each department has created their own unique way of promoting GRIT…..and with so many success stories as a result.

Jan Withers, Head of Visual Arts

Professional learning sessions such as these highlights just how passionate staff are about student learning here at the College. The innovation and creativity of departments in the way that we have implemented vastly different GRIT strategies in the classroom is impressive. These sessions illustrated that we have much knowledge that we can share and how we can learn from each other.

Danielle Spark, Head of Home Economics

Monday was a fantastic look at what our departments are doing to get the best out of our girls. A highlight was seeing everyone tackle their maths-xiety with a seemingly simple card trick that became a hot topic of debate in the lunchroom for the following days. 

Ben Walker, Mathematics

Our dedicated teachers continue to inspire our students and through many varied opportunities assist them in developing perseverance not only needed for learning but life.


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