How Children Succeed (Tough)

The subtitle for this book is Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, so jokes about the author’s last name are inevitable. Much of the argument in this book is familiar, though still not, in my opinion, accepted widely enough. These are stories of people using research to try to inform not only the teaching of content, but also the teaching (and evaluation of) character – not moral character, but performance character. (I think ‘performance’ is the adjective Tough uses.) By this, he means aspects of character, like persistence, that more and more educators are seeing as a pre-requisite for success. Another example – failure. We all wants children and students to learn, as Tough describes it, to manage failure, but no one wants anyone to fail; the stakes are too high, or at least they seem that way. Does the inability to manage failure lead to cheating? Another in a long line of magazine articles that have been expanded into books, but Tough writes well, and it’s nice to have the good research all in one place.

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