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Tough once again encourages us to think in a brand new way about the challenges of childhood. Mining the latest research in psychology and neuroscience, Tough provides us with insights and strategies for a new approach to childhood adversity, one designed to help many more children succeed. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Helping Children Succeed , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Helping Children Succeed.

Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 18, Katie Loftin rated it liked it Shelves: teacher-books. If you're looking for classroom strategies to help you teach non-cognitive skills and character strengths, you've unfortunately come to the wrong place. Despite the title that clearly suggests otherwise, Tough writes in his conclusion, "We don't need to know exactly what to do in order to know that we need to do something. Build a positive classroom environment and strong relationships with your students.

Strive for providing students with competence, autonomy, and relatedness. You can give autonomy by maximizing a sense of choice and volitional engagement and minimizing students' feelings of coercion and control. Students feel competent when teachers give them tasks that they can succeed at but aren't too easy. And they feel relatedness when they think their teachers like, value, and respect them.

View 1 comment. Sep 03, Zach rated it really liked it. I want every person who thinks poor kids can get a better education to read this book. I want every administrator who thinks suspending kids is the best way to punish them to read this book. I want every school board member who thinks hiring teachers should be about what extracurricular roles they might fill to read this book. I want every person who believes his or her tax dollars are being wasted on early-intervention programs to read this book. I want every teacher who thinks the classroom is a I want every person who thinks poor kids can get a better education to read this book.

I want every teacher who thinks the classroom is about maintaining discipline via arbitrary and harmful "policies" to read this book. I can keep going.

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The reason it's only four stars is it relies too much on "studies. That said, lots of important stuff here. Jun 29, Manderson rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , psychology , education. Paul Tough has insight to offer here and much that I agree with. His premise is that character, or "noncognitive" traits, are not skills as such, and thus can't be taught directly, but rather traits that are formed by environment and being engaged in relevant and rigorous tasks.

Beyond this very keen and valuable assertion, however, the book is light on takeaways and depth. He notes in the afterword that this was originally intended to be an online piece, and I think it would have been more fitt Paul Tough has insight to offer here and much that I agree with. He notes in the afterword that this was originally intended to be an online piece, and I think it would have been more fitting in such a form, as I didn't feel this was substantive enough to constitute a book. Jul 27, Emily rated it liked it.

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What we need to change first, it seems, is his environment. And adverse physical surroundings do play a role in children's development, especially when they are literally toxic, as when children are exposed to lead in their drinking water or carbon monoxi "If we want to improve a child's grit or resilience or self-control, it turns out that the place to begin is not with the child himself. And adverse physical surroundings do play a role in children's development, especially when they are literally toxic, as when children are exposed to lead in their drinking water or carbon monoxide in the are they breathe.

But one of the most important findings of this new cohort of researchers is that for most children, the environmental factors that matter most have less to do with the buildings they live in than with the relationships they experience - they way the adults in their lives interact with them, especially in times of stress. Beginning in infancy, children rely on responses from their parents to make sense of the world.

Researchers at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University have labeled these 'serve and return' interactions. Infants make a sound or look at an object - that's the serve - and parents return the serve by sharing the child's attention and responding to his babbles and cries with gestures, facial expressions, and speech: 'Yes, that's your doggy! More than any other experiences infants have, they trigger the development and strengthening of neural connections in the brain between the regions that control emotion, cognition, language, and memory.

Getting Smart Podcast | Paul Tough on Helping Children Succeed

Research has shown that when parents behave harshly or unpredictably - especially at moments when their children are upset - the children are less likely over time to develop the ability to manage strong emotions and more likely to respond ineffectively to stressful situations. By contrast, parents who are able to help their children handle stressful moments and calm themselves down after a tantrum or a scare often have a profoundly positive effect on the children's long-term ability to manage stress.

Infancy and early childhood are naturally full of crying jags and meltdowns, and each one is, for the child, a learning opportunity even if that's hard to believe, in the moment, for the child's parents. When a child's caregivers respond to her jangled emotions in a sensitive and measured way, she is more likely to learn that she herself has the capacity to manage and cope with her feelings, even intense and unpleasant ones.

That understanding, which is not primarily an intellectual understanding but instead is etched deep into the child's psyche, will prove immensely valuable when the next stressful situation comes along - or even in the face of a crisis years in the future. If they hear the message that a failure is a final verdict on their ability, they may well give up and pull back from school.

But if instead they get the message that a failure is a temporary stumble, or even a valuable opportunity to learn and improve, then that setback is more likely to propel them to invest more of themselves in their education. Farrington believed that these narratives about failure were especially resonant among students from low-income families, who were more likely to be anxious or insecure about the possibility of failing in an academic context.

It produces feelings of both competence and autonomy - two of Deci and Ryan's three big intrinsic motivations. And yet most of our schools, especially schools educating poor kids, operate in ways that steer children away from those experiences.

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Pianta's researchers found that in almost every school they observed, the instruction students received was repetitive and undemanding, limited mostly to the endless practice of basic skills. Instead, students spent most of their time hearing lectures on basic skills from teachers or practicing those basic skills on worksheets. The average fifth-grade student received five times as much instruction in basic skills as instruction focused on problem-solving or reasoning, Pianta and his coauthors reported; in first and third grades, the ratio was ten to one.

Students in schools populated mostly by middle-class-and-above children were about equally likely to find themselves in a classroom with engaged and interesting instruction 47 percent of students as in one with basic, repetitive instruction 53 percent of students. But students in schools serving mostly low-income children were almost all 91 percent in classrooms marked by basic, uninteresting teaching.

In other countries, classroom teaching can look quite different. In the s, a researcher named James Stigler coordinated a vast international project that involved videotaping the classrooms of hundreds of randomly selected eighth-grade math teachers in the United States, Germany, and Japan. Stigler, who summarized his research in a book that he coauthored with James Hiebert titled The Teaching Gap , found that math classes in Japan almost always followed a very different script from math classes in the United States.

Students would stare at the problem for a while, scratch their heads, sometimes wince in pain, and then come up with an answer that was usually wrong. The teacher would guide the discussion in a way that led, eventually, to a new element of math understanding in this case, the principle of finding the lowest common denominator.

Often the correct solution would be proposed not by the teacher but by one of the students. The whole process was sometimes bewildering and occasionally frustrating for students, but that was kind of the point.

‘How Children Succeed,’ by Paul Tough - The New York Times

By the end of class, confusion and frustration gave way to the satisfaction of a new depth of comprehension, not delivered in whole cloth by an omniscient adult, but constructed from the group up, in part through a dialogue among the students. The teacher would then complete, on the overhead projector, a couple of sample problems while the students watcher, listened, and copied the problems down in their workbooks.

The teacher would then give the students series of exercises to complete on their own that looked very similar to the sample problems the teacher had just demonstrated. Students would absorb these new procedures, Stiger and Hiebert wrote in The Teaching Gap , by 'practicing them many times, with later exercises being slightly more difficult than earlier ones. Confusion and frustration, in this tradition American view, should be minimized.

In Japan, 41 percent of students' time in math class was still spent on basic practice - churning through one problem after another - but 44 percent was devoted to more creative stuff: inventing new procedures or adapting familiar procedures to unfamiliar material. In the American classrooms, by contrast, 96 percent of students' time was spent on repetitive practice, and less than 1 percent was spent puzzling through new approaches.

Consistently creating what Pamela Cantor has called 'fortified environments' for poor children will mean fundamentally rethinking and remaking many of our entrenched institutions and practice: how we provide aid to low-income parents; how we create, fund, and manage systems of early-childhood care and education; how we train our teachers; how we discipline our students and assess their learning; and how we run our schools.

These are essentially questions of public policy, and if real solutions are going to be found to the problems of disadvantaged children, these questions will need to be addressed, in a creative and committed way, by public officials at all levels - by school superintendents, school-board members, mayors, governors, and cabinet secretaries - as well as by individual citizens, community groups, and philanthropists across the country The project of creating better environments for children growing up in adversity is, at bottom, the work on individuals. Which means that the teachers, mentors, social workers, coaches, and parents who spend their days working with low-income children don't need to wait for large-scale policy changes to be enacted in order to take actions today and tomorrow and the next day that will help those children succeed The tone of a parent's voice.

The words a teacher writes on a Post-it note. The way a math class is organized.

The extra time that a mentor or a coach takes to listen to a child facing a challenge. Those personal actions can create powerful changes, and those individual changes can resonate on a national scale.