Conversations on Education
Paul Tough
How Children Succeed

Paul Tough, How Children SucceedPaul Tough
In How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, author Paul Tough presents compelling new (and some old) research indicating that character is an accurate — or even better — predictor of a child’s success than his or her array of cognitive skills. That — as the subtitle suggests — character strengths like grit, curiosity, self-regulation, conscientiousness, and optimism are the essential factors to achievement in life. Tough sat down with ParentMap to talk about his book and examine this central question: Why do some children succeed while others fail?

More about the video
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 most have more to do with character: skills like perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control.

Interview topics include:

  • How  a new generation of experts and educators are using the tools of science to define character and its role in shaping success
  • The essential character strengths children need to succeed
  • Definition of so-called executive functions
  • The importance of being exposed to and overcoming failure in building character
  • Character education and what some schools are doing to integrate character education
  • Ways parents can help their children develop character strengths
  • And more!

Related articles and resources:

About Paul Tough
Paul Tough is 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.