From the Paul Tough Excerpt I Mentioned Earlier

From the Paul Tough excerpt I mentioned earlier:

Unlike reading and math skills, though, they aren’t primarily developed through deliberate practice and explicit training. Instead, researchers have found, they are mostly shaped by children’s daily experience of their environment. And they have their roots in the first few years of life. When children spend their early years in communities and homes where life is unstable and chaotic — which is true of a disproportionate number of children growing up in poverty — the intense and chronic stress they often experience as a result can seriously disrupt, on a neurobiological level, their development of these important capacities.

The excerpt also explores how non-academic professionl development for teachers can go a long way. Paul gets it. There’s a substantive area of non-cognitive skills that are instilled in a student by people and circumstances that are out of a teacher’s control, and often times, knowledge. But, with unique, innovative PD that takes the whole student into consideration, teachers can start to work with students to overcome counterproductive characteristics.

To read the full excerpt from Helping Children Succeed, see this NYT link.

More From Paul Tough!

I can’t wait until my copy of Paul Tough’s recently published book, Helping Children Succeed comes in the mail. I wrote a brief review on his last book, How Children Succeed, which I loved for it’s ability to connect  learning behavior and attitudes, both positive and negative, to nereoulogical processes. For now, I’ll just read his recent NYT article that features an adaption of one of the sections from Helping Children Succeed.

Brief Comment on Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed

In How Children Succeed, Paul Tough walks us through the chemical proccesses of children who have been through traumatic experiences and how those emotions, if not catered to, can affect not only a students education but lifelong experiences. Whle he also talks about how character, especially grit, can help children become more effective students, and in turn, better citizens, I love his emphasis on the role of the parent. 

As far as students underperforming on exams goes, a lot of people blame teachers and are either ingnorant or too politcal-minded to rest some of that blame on parents. His last chapter, titled “A Better Path”, note how parents and role models play a significant position in a child/young adult’s mental development. These relationships are almost always personal and are better developed through one-on-one interactions. Some public school teachers are trying to aid 30 kids to a class, 45 minutes at a time, making it difficult to cultivate a personal, on-going relationship. Parents, however, are able to interact with their kids more frequently and for a much longer period of time than any single teacher ever could. 

This has always been my train of thought, but I love how Tough essentially says that parents do not need to be academically inclined to make their child a better student. Providing them with the understanding of hardwork, optimism, curiosity and a sense of protection, parents can be one of their child’s most powerful resources, not neccessarily a teacher (…though of course they play a big part, as well).

Finally Reading Paul Tough’s “How Children Succeed”

I’m only on the first chapter, but so far I love the anecdotes, which bring the troubles some children go through to life. I’m also fascinated by economist James Heckman’s interdisciplinary work on the Perry Preschool Program and Tough’s use of the research in the book’s introduction. The reader understands what Tough is going to talk about but he provides this strong piece of research that is a catalyst in his quest to understand how children succeed. More thoughts on the book as a read!