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Persevering In The Face Of Obstacles To Critical Thinking

5 Steps to Persevere (Even When You Really Want to Quit) – INC.

Perseverance in the face of obstacles is a frequent theme in career development:growing one’s career takes a whole lot of it.Think about the process of job search – it often results in a few (or several) “No’s” before the “Yes” that constitutes a job offer.And the need for perseverance doesn’t stop there.Becoming equipped for the kind of role that you want next often means practicing new skills, which can be tempting to avoid, especially for people who are used to performing at high levels.I really recommend the short article by Jessica Stillman of Inc.com.In it, she summarizes key ways outlined by Dr. Rick Hanson to cultivate perseverance.And by the way, Dr. Hanson is a Sr. Fellow at our own Greater Good Science Center, and a member of its Advisory Board.

Perseverance in the Face of Obstacles was last modified: January 7th, 2016 by Terrie Moore, MS

By Michele Haney

Embedded within academic learning is, and should be, learning how to deal with the challenges of being human. That is, overcoming stereotype, forming an awareness of your own biases, and cultivating strength to persevere in the face of adversity.

In middle school, students are confronted with all of these challenges and more, but don’t always have an opportunity in the classroom to discuss ways to respond to and overcome them.

In particular, young female students who dream of a career in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) may not feel capable of pursuing such goals due to imbedded stereotypes. Young male students may not be aware of how powerful their support of their female classmates in typically male-dominated fields can be.

Thus, a module at Cascade Middle School was born through a collaboration between teachers Tyler Bryan and Alexa Lachman and weaver Michele Haney. The lesson centered on the premise that a huge inequality still exists when it comes to the number of women in STEM careers and that much of this is due to social and environmental barriers such as stereotype threat and implicit bias.

To provide students problem solving skills surrounding these challenges, the lesson took this "3-A" approach:

  • Awareness: What does stereotype and bias look like? How can a person acknowledge and make positive change?
  • Appreciation: Who deserves our appreciation for overcoming stereotype? How can we show our appreciation? 
  • Action plan: How can we get from where we are now to where we want to be in future career?

First, students were given prompts to perform tableaux about stereotypes that affect men and women. In groups, students planned and performed these stereotypes, and then a reverse, “growth mindset” version of the stereotypes. Being expected to act out both a negative stereotype and a positive response gives students an ability to experience, rather than simply imagine, the emotional stress surrounding stereotype threat and implicit bias.