Once again, we’d like to thank you for following our series about 9 Traits of Critical Thinking™. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning how your students can use these traits to develop more skillful thinking in academics and in social interactions. The previous posting in this blog series presented a brief overview about the trait reflect. This last post in the series features the critical thinking trait strive.

I use effort and determination to focus on challenging tasks.

When students acquire understanding of the trait strive,theyfrequently use success criteria to monitor performance and maintain focus, persisting rather than giving up on simple or complex tasks. Through the use of the Think Aloud strategy and modeling by the teacher, students are taught to break a task into smaller chunks to make it manageable or less overwhelming. Students who display the strive trait might be observed pausing and thinking through an activity rather than jumping in with little thought given to what the activity is about.

Opportunities should be purposefully designed where students can demonstrate the strive trait. Invite students to explain their plan for solving a problem or seeking a solution. Along the way, ask students to show evidence that the plan is being followed, or the option chosen is working. Engage students in conversations about how they maintain their focus when completing tasks. Have students explain what  helps them develop a “stick-to-itiveness” approach rather than giving up when the task appears to be too complicated or challenging. Students strive to successfully perform in many ways: playing a sport, working on a project, participating in a performance, doing homework, taking a test, contributing to tough conversations, learning to ride a bike, completing chores, controlling impulsive actions, showing responsibility, and much more.

The following questions can be asked of students to facilitate focus and application of the trait strive. Feel free to adjust the vocabulary to promote understanding among students.

  • How do you maintain your focus during an activity or assigned task?
  • What strategies do you use to persist or to continue working on task rather than giving up?
  • How can breaking a task into smaller chunks help you perform better?
  • How could checklists, rubrics, or success criteria help you maintain focus?
  • What makes it easier for you to successfully complete an activity?
  • What might you say to encourage a friend to strive to seek a better solution?
  • What are examples that show how the trait strive might be used in school, at home, in the workplace, or elsewhere in life?
  • How can self-monitoring improve your use the trait strive?
  • How do you think using the 9 Traits of Critical Thinking™ can improve your academic success or interactions with others?

Throughout this series of blog postings hopefully, you as educators see the value of helping students acquire, apply, and demonstrate the 9 traits. Students who attain these traits will have knowledge appropriate for use in school and for their lifespan as adults. Students can call upon these traits as they face challenging and uncertain situations. The intent is to develop thoughtful and cooperative individuals who can lead productive lives in a complex and information-rich world. You may visit mentoringminds.com to peruse a variety of resources that support students, teachers, and school leaders in learning about the 9 Traits of Critical Thinking™ and integrating the traits school-wide.