Persistence is one of the metacognitive learning skills (Conley, Education Week) necessary for a successful transition to college or career. Here are several strategies for developing persistence skills among your students:
• Assign projects that cannot be completed in one class period and that require students to persist to solve multifaceted problems. In assigning projects, provide appropriate scaffolding so that by the time students are seniors, they are capable of completing complex tasks independently.
• Teach lessons on resiliency to help students reflect on how they learn and cope with stressful situations. Have students describe how they have handled unexpected difficulties in the past; have them present and share these strategies with the class. This will help students build a portfolio of strategies to rely on when an obstacle presents itself (e.g., should I work with my peers, ask the teacher for help?). This experience encourages students to ask for help or pursue different pathways to success when they may have otherwise given up or felt unsuccessful if they didn’t complete an assignment independently.
• Build classroom practices that reward persistence (e.g., include credit for multiple drafts of work).
• Have students set short-, medium-, and long-term goals and map out action steps to achieve those goals. This helps to instill that persistence is sustained effort over time, not solely a triumph over barriers.
See , for example, EPIC’s ThinkReady formative assessment tasks.