Can Schools Teach Character?
An interview with Paul Tough.
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“Most early-childhood classrooms in the United States,” writes Paul Tough in his new book How Children Succeed, “are designed to develop in children a set of pre-academic skills, mostly related to deciphering text and manipulating numbers.” Nevertheless, research conducted in the last few years suggests that stuffing this kind of information into a child’s head is not the most important task in those early years. “What matters, instead, is whether we are able to help her develop a very different set of qualities, a list that includes persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit, and self-confidence.” How Children Succeed describes the new discoveries and reports on the ways innovative educators are developing techniques to help children develop these traits. The interview lasts about 30 minutes.
The Afterword, which appears in the Slate daily podcast feed every other Thursday, features interviews with the authors of new nonfiction books. The next guest will be Lynn Povich, talking about her new book The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued their Bosses and Changed the Workplace. That podcast will be live on Sept. 27.
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Podcast produced by June Thomas. The executive producer of Slate’s podcasts is Andy Bowers.
June Thomas is a Slate culture critic. Follow her on Twitter.