What if a child’s success in school were measured not in IQ but in strength of character?
That’s the question Paul Tough tries to answer in his book, How Children Succeed—Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.
Education is once again a hot-button issue this fall, as many provincial governments trim their education budgets and labour negotiations between teachers and administrators in Ontario remain acrimonious.
Tough doesn’t discount the importance of a solid education, but he says character is as important as academics in helping children become successful adults.
In this case, character is “not about morality,” says Tough, a Canadian-born journalist. “It’s more about learning a set of skills to help kids achieve their goals.”
Tough’s book outlines seven character traits that he says are key to success:
These traits were compiled by a couple of schools — one public, one private – in the New York City borough of the Bronx. These schools saw huge improvements in their students when they moved the emphasis from IQ and test scores to building character.
Tough says that parents can “fall into the trap of thinking that character is somehow fixed—that you’ve either got a good kid or a bad kid.”
But the educators and scientists that Tough interviewed for his book say that character is malleable. Kids can actually develop a set of strengths over time.
In order to do that, they must learn not only to accept but embrace failure.
Read more: CBC News