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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Tough’

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There is enough rock and debris in what my teachers didn’t know and in what I didn’t know as a teacher to completely hide Pennsylvania.  Although what we should have known is now readily available, the lowering of the mountain is not up to individuals.  Systemic reform of our schools and parenting is needed.  For a book that can make a difference, try Paul Tough, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.

Tough’s thesis is that cognitive skills are important, but do not ensure success in education or life.  Obsessive concentration on one or two narrow areas of talent may produce exceptional achievers, but again will not ensure success or happiness in education or life.  The key to success in all pursuits is noncognitive skills that make up character.  Yes, character.  From the research and the trial and error of experimental school programs, the important list of components can be shortened to grit, self-control, zest, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, and curiosity.  Parents and educators need to understand how to create routine experiences that develop these qualities for small children.

We know it takes no talent or brains to be biological parents.  The same is true of being state politicians and school board members, all of which is a shame.  Who will lead us to a more enlightened life?  You know the answer; no one is going to.  Despite the need for systemic reform, if the light is to shine, it must shine one parent, one teacher, one school administrator at a time.  Tough’s book may be the match that ignites your light.  Charles Marlin

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