Thursday, September 15, 2011

Secrets to Success in Learning and Life?

Paul Tough's article in the 9/14/11 NYTimes, What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?” speaks about the development of character for successful learning, as well as success in life. Can character be taught? We have an SEL initiative ongoing at our school, and there are many discussions, and learning targets designed to reinforce students social awareness and interpersonal skills.

Educators at two venerable New York City schools, KIPP and Riverdale Country School, are forging a new frontier in character education.

Tough's article mentions Angela Duckworth’s research:
People who accomplished great things, she noticed, often combined a passion for a single mission with an unswerving dedication to achieve that mission, whatever the obstacles and however long it might take. She decided she needed to name this quality, and she chose the word “grit.”
"Grit” is one of 24 character strengths that are now evaluated on student report cards. What would it look like if we also reported our observations on the strengths of students' character?

Riverdale’s headmaster, Dominic Randolph, explained that, “The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure. And in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.”

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