Have you heard the saying “persistence pays off”? Or how about “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”? Both of these familiar aphorisms remind us that, if we hope to solve a problem, reach a goal, or achieve a dream, we need to stay the course despite setbacks, hardships, and frustrations.
Your goal may have been earning your graduate degree, securing support and funding for an important initiative, completing a triathlon, or attaining another objective that’s close to your heart and mind.
For some of your students, the goal may also be to earn a college diploma… or to simply make it through a particular course. Others may see themselves on a track to following a certain career path, starting a business, writing the “Great American Novel,” or establishing a service to help those in need. In any of those situations, the answer remains the same: it takes diligence and persistence to see the idea through to completion. And, persistence in the small things can help us develop the persistence it takes to accomplish our biggest goals and see our dreams come to fruition.
As an educator, you can play a supportive role in fostering students’ persistence. If you’re interested in how to do so, you may find some inspiration in the video below. Laura Bracken, co-author of Elementary Algebra and Intermediate Algebra, discusses her interest in exploring persistence and retention in higher education. She shares how seeking to understand the function and value of persistence has informed her approach towards making a difference among her students at the classroom level. In addition, she addresses how her study of the research on persistence has helped her identify new techniques, strategies, and active-learning opportunities that engage her students and encourage them to stay on task.
What strategies do you use to help your students persist in your coursework—and in college? How have you benefited from persistence in your own personal and professional life? Share your ideas below.