I’ve been writing about how self-discipline and self-control in classroom learning systems should be emphasized less and differently. The array of traits that can enhance a student’s experience in a learning system and enrich his or her life extends beyond this ideal. And the practice of impressive self-discipline can actually be damaging for a child.
In his article, “Why Self-Discipline is Overrated: The (Troubling) Theory and Practice of Control from Within,” Alfie Kohn cites research by Jack Block. He says that the tendency to persist at a task–often referred to as tenacity or “grit”–may actually be the result of an unhealthy, and often counterproductive need to complete something. The extremely self-disciplined student might feel a strong need to continue on “even when it clearly doesn’t make sense to do so.”
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