Originally posted on @ THE CHALK FACE:
Over the past few weeks author and journalist Paul Tough and his new book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character have been making a splash in the world of education reform. The book has been highlighted in the New York Times, on NPR, and on various other news outlets.
And then there was Education Nation. Brian Williams seems to have a major crush on all things Tough. And as always, the charter school franchise KIPP is mentioned in nearly every segment as a school “beating the odds”. This year, all the hype was about KIPP’s character education program. Williams later went on the do a Rock Central segment called “True Grit: Teaching Character in the Classroom“.
Tough’s book centers on the idea that critical non-cognitive skills, which he calls “character”, can be hindered due to poor parenting and the stresses of poverty. He argues that these skills are more important than the fixed idea of IQ and that schools should focus on developing skills like “grit (perseverance), self-control, optimism, gratitude, social intelligence, zest (enthusiasm), and curiosity.” He also points to research that shows attachment to parents and shielding young children from stress during the first years of life can also influence these characteristics later in life.