The effects of teaching perseverance on student independence in mathematical problem solving
Perseverance is an attribute often required for student success but is seldom taught. This research investigated the effects of teaching and practicing perseverance to a combined class of second and third grade students. Data collected from surveys, teacher observations, journal entries and class discussions were analyzed to see if students' ability to work independently and appreciation of their individual ability to persevere could be increased through participation in lessons requiring them to work through difficult academic challenges. Student time-on-task, comments and questions were recorded during these lessons and other classroom assessments. Student journal sheets were also completed for each lesson, and a teacher journal was kept for the entirety of the investigation. This class proved to work independently as a whole; however, results did not show any improvement in student time-on-task over the treatment period, suggesting that student ability to persevere was not significantly affected. Survey results, journal entries, and class discussions showed an increase in students' understanding and appreciation of their ability to persevere. As a result of this treatment, students also appeared to become more comfortable and confident when presented with difficult academic challenges. It is the conclusion of this study that while directly teaching and practicing perseverance may not improve students' ability to work independently through challenging tasks, it can be a valuable tool in heightening students' understanding of their abilities and boosting confidence. Therefore, based on my research, teaching and practicing perseverance should be continued as a regular classroom activity.