Paul Tough's best-selling book, How Children Succeed, shined a light on how noncognitive factors like curiosity, conscientiousness, and grit — the qualities that make up a child's character — contribute to long-term success in the classroom. An important question remained unanswered, though: What can teachers do to help develop these skills in their students? For this, there were no clear instructions.
"What I found was that teachers, educators, and education officers were pushing toward the paradigm of just trying to teach these skills" in a way similar to how they might teach more tangible lessons like the Pythagorean Theorem, says Tough. But evidence suggests that it just doesn't work. "If that paradigm doesn't work," he says, "what is it that helps develop these skills in kids?"
With his new book, Helping Children Succeed, Tough addresses this issue and dives into the ways that both teachers and parents can prime their children for success in school and in life.
In this edition of the EdCast, Tough discusses his books and examines the ways in which we can make kids more motivated, engaged, and productive in the classroom.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.