Sunday, October 20, 2013


Well, I must admit I was looking for a magic pill when I bought this book.  It was an interesting read, but I guess the reality is there is no golden key to success. 

Through extensive research, Paul Tough identified a variety of characteristics that are likely to predict life satisfaction and high achievement:
Grit  (commitment, dedication, and persistence)
Self-control  (delay of gratification, self-regulation)
Learned optimism (train yourself to be more hopeful)
Motivation (make a plan and follow through on the plan)
Character (good values and good citizenship)
Social intelligence  (conscientiousness)

I think we’d all agree on how important these characteristics are in the classroom and in life, but how to TEACH them is another challenge.

An interesting insight from the book was Tough’s visit to a school that implemented Tools of the Mind.  This program was developed in Denver and focuses on self-regulation skills rather than reading and writing.
*controlling impulses
*staying on task
*avoiding distractions
*managing emotions
*organizing thoughts
*self-talk or private speech to talk themselves through a difficult task

Once again I am struck by the dissonance between what the research suggests and what we are actually focusing on in our schools.  However, I don’t think the skills are incompatible with the Common Core State Standards.  I’m convinced most teachers do encourage self-regulation, organizational skills, good citizenship, task completion, and a positive attitude every day. 

GRIT is a good word for students and educators, isn’t it?  Commitment, dedication, and persistence – that’s YOU!