The general premise is that children need more than “smarts” to be successful in school and in life. There are a variety of other “skills” or “dispositions” that may be more important to nurture in children than the academic skills that everyone is so busy pushing. These are “perseverance” or “stick-to-it-iveness”, “cognitive flexibility”, “grit”, “endurance”, and other hidden character traits.
The Amazon review says,
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to help children growing up in poverty.
Early adversity, scientists have come to understand, can not only affect the conditions of children’s lives, it can alter the physical development of their brains as well. But now educators and doctors around the country are using that knowledge to develop innovative interventions that allow children to overcome the constraints of poverty. And with the help of these new strategies, as Tough’s extraordinary reporting makes clear, children who grow up in the most painful circumstances can go on to achieve amazing things.
This provocative and profoundly hopeful book has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, and how we construct our social safety net. It will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.
A lot of the research hits really close to home as many of the examples are from Chicago. He explores Fenger High School, the 100’s of Roseland, Arne Duncan, and CPS. I’ll give you the wrap up once I’m done, but this might be the new “must-read” for all teachers.