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Perseverance, Teaching and Learning

perseverance, believe in yourself
Perseverance, believe in yourself

The meaning of perseverance is the “continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition."


The learners we teach today are described as:

  • Highly tech-savvy, they use technology and are familiar with technology

  • Adaptable and resilient, having lived through global changes and challenges

  • Having a short attention span, focusing on instant gratification

We should teach perseverance as . . .

perseverance,  achieve your goals
Perseverance, achieve your goals

  • it helps learners to set and achieve goals.

  • it assists in building the self-confidence of learners

  • it assists in removing the expectation of immediate feedback, immediate results and instant gratification.

  • learners begin to realise that when they put greater effort into a task, they experience better results.

  • it promotes self-determination and belief in self

  • learners learn to manage their emotions as they work through and struggle with difficult tasks or learn to cope with a wide range of activities.

  • learners realise that failure is okay, and they can get up and try again.

We should demonstrate perseverance in the way we react to difficult situations, in how we speak to our learners, and in how we encourage them to be the best selves they can be.

For example:

Encourage positive self-talk

Positive self talk
Positive self talk

  • Get students to think about rephrasing their comments:

  • From “I can’t do this” to “How do I do this?”

  • From “This is too hard” to “This is hard, but I’ll keep trying and will understand how to do it”

  • Encourage learners to identify their achievements, and express how proud they feel of those achievements/

Describe mistakes and failures as learning opportunities

It's okay to fail, it is not okay to quit!
It's okay to fail, it is not okay to quit!

  • Speak about what they have learnt already, and what they learnt from the mistake or failure.

  • Discuss how they can move forward, encourage them to ask for assistance and keep trying.

Praise progress and effort, rather than focusing on being “smart”

Look at your achievements and successes
Look at your achievements and successes

  • Don’t speak to learners about being smart or clever, rather refer to how well they have completed a task.

  • Discuss what they have learnt through the process, the knowledge they have gained and the progress they have made.

As teachers, we need to develop activities and tasks that require students to analyse, interpret, and create. Asking questions which encourage learners to think, rather than just knowledge and recall questions, where they only regurgitate information.

Be aware of learners who drive themselves to the extreme.

The challenge for positive education is to help young people find the right balance between working hard and persisting through the challenge with letting go at the right time and enjoying life”. (Peggy) Kern, M.L. (2017)

Finding the balance of not giving up, and persevering, while not going to the extreme.

Enjoy teaching your learners.

I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Contact me, Karen Walstra


(Peggy) Kern, M.L. (2017). Perseverance, Achievement, and Positive Education. In: White, M., Slemp, G., Murray, A. (eds) Future Directions in Well-Being. Springer, Cham.

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