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10-15 minutes


Primary / Junior / Intermediate




To teach students the concept of perseverance, to keep going and never give up, even when things are hard

Brainstorm with students: “What does it mean to have perseverance or a ‘never-give-up’ attitude?” Present a quote that highlights perseverance, for example  Thomas Edison said about his work on the light bulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Consider using additional quotes that reflect cultural diversity.

Ask students:

  • Think-pair-share how different life might be if Mr. Edison had chosen to quit after his first few attempts to invent the light bulb.
  • Write their own quote that will help them to persevere.
  • Share the quotes with the class and post them.

For older students:

  • Have students discuss things they do well. Do those things require practice? How much?
  • Ask them if they dream of being really good at something. What does it take to become an expert? How is perseverance a part of becoming an expert?
  • Ask students to develop ways to encourage others to keep trying. Discuss ways they can encourage themselves through positive self-talk.
  • Students can write a positive message to themselves as a reminder for the day.
  • Create a bulletin board with positive affirmations for student reference.

Discuss how changing your goal is sometimes necessary. Sometimes changing the course should not be seen as giving up but persevering in a creative or more appropriate way.

The ability to try again, to ‘stick to it’ and to persevere all require self-discipline. A student with strong self-discipline has been shown to have stronger academic achievement than those with just a higher IQ (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005). Further to this, a student’s resilience is key (Yeager & Deweck, 2012).

Duckworth, A. L., & Seligman, M. E. (2005). Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Psychological science, 16(12), 939-944.

Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindsets that promote resilience: When students believe that personal characteristics can be developed. Educational Psychologist, 47(4), 302-314.