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How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Characterby Paul Tough
Synopses & Reviews
“Drop the flashcards—grit, character, and curiosity matter even more than cognitive skills. A persuasive wake-up call.”—People
Why do some children succeed while others fail? The story we usually tell about childhood and success is the one about intelligence: success comes to those who score highest on tests, from preschool admissions to SATs. But in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough argues that the qualities that matter more have to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, optimism, and self-control.
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories—and the stories of the children they are trying to help—Tough reveals how this new knowledge can transform young people’s lives. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do—and do not—prepare their children for adulthood. And he provides us with new insights into how to improve the lives of children growing up in poverty. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.
“Illuminates the extremes of American childhood: for rich kids, a safety net drawn so tight it’s a harness; for poor kids, almost nothing to break their fall.”—New York Times
“I learned so much reading this book and I came away full of hope about how we can make life better for all kinds of kids.”—Slate
A foremost The New Yorker and New York Times journalist reverses three decades of thinking about what creates successful children, solving the mysteries of why some succeed and others fail - and of how to move individual children toward their full potential for success.
Award-winning teacher and high-profile public speaker John Hunter offers insights into conflict resolution and collective problem-solving gleaned from his many years teaching kids through the “world peace game,” an innovative global systems simulation he created.
“At a time when school systems have completely lost focus on what really matters, John Hunter reminds us what we should be teaching our children. His ideas will help anyone who has the courage to understand that a real education must go beyond filling in circles on a standardized test form.” — Rafe Esquith, author of Teach Like Your Hairs on Fire
Can playing a game lead to world peace? If its John Hunters World Peace Game, it just might. In Hunters classroom, students take on the roles of presidents, tribal leaders, diplomats, and military commanders. Through battles and negotiations, standoffs and summits, they strive to resolve a sequence of many-layered, interconnected scenarios, from nuclear proliferation to tribal warfare.
Now, Hunter shares inspiring stories from over thirty years of teaching the World Peace Game, revealing the principles of successful collaboration that people of any age can apply. He offers not only a forward-thinking report from the frontlines of American education, but also a generous blueprint for a world that bends toward cooperation rather than conflict. In this deeply hopeful book, a visionary educator shows us what the future of education can be.
“Inspired, breath-of-fresh-air reading.” — Kirkus Reviews
“With numerous reflections on the games impact on certain students and a resounding final chapter highlighting his classs 2012 visit to the Pentagon, Hunter proves the value of ‘slow teaching in this important, fascinating, highly readable resource for educators and parents alike.” — Booklist
What would it take?
That was the question that Geoffrey Canada found himself asking. What would it take to change the lives of poor children—not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in big numbers, and in a way that could be replicated nationwide? The question led him to create the Harlem Childrens Zone, a ninety-seven-block laboratory in central Harlem where he is testing new and sometimes controversial ideas about poverty in America. His conclusion: if you want poor kids to be able to compete with their middle-class peers, you need to change everything in their lives—their schools, their neighborhoods, even the child-rearing practices of their parents.
Whatever It Takes is a tour de force of reporting, an inspired portrait not only of Geoffrey Canada but also of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds. Carefully researched and deeply affecting, this is a dispatch from inside the most daring and potentially transformative social experiment of our time.
About the Author
PAUL TOUGH is an editor at the New York Times Magazine and one of Americas foremost writers on poverty, education, and the achievement gap. His reporting on Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Childrens Zone originally appeared as a Times Magazine cover story. He lives with his wife in New York City.
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