Young boy and girls holding books before school

Paul Tough on Helping Children Succeed in School and in Life

by Scott Barry Kaufman, June 2, 2016

We are happy  to welcome journalist and author Paul Tough on the show to discuss how we can help children from adverse backgrounds flourish. Paul began his deep dive into this topic 13 years ago for a New York Times piece, and he has been fascinated with the neuroscientific, psychological, political and sociological research ever since. This episode is a look at practical recommendations for how children can transcend difficult circumstances and cultivate well-being. We cover some of the challenges facing impoverished children and the effects of these environments on how children develop. We discuss constructs like grit, conscientiousness, character strengths, and “non-cognitive capacities”. We ask important philosophical questions like “are the skills associated with doing well in school really the same as doing well in life?” We look at how pursuing well-being can actually fuel academic success, the importance of creativity and autonomy in school, and much more!

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You can read “Helping Children Succeed” in its entirety for free here.

“Paul Tough is the author, most recently, of Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why. He is also the author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character and Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. He is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and a speaker on various topics including education, poverty, parenting, and politics.  His writing has also appeared in theNew Yorker, the AtlanticGQ, and Esquire.” Blurb taken from paultough.com


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