There has been a great deal of coverage in the media of late following the publication of the book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. I have followed the discussion with a great deal of interest always trying to figure out how I could best incorporate the ideas into my work with students. The topic is of particular interest to those of us at Loomis Chaffee since we launched the Norton Family Center for the Common Good this fall. You can read a brief intro to the Center and its Director, Al Friehofer (LC ’69) here.
On the face of it, the concept of “grit” makes perfect sense and seems like a no-brainer. As with most topics in education, you really need to dig a little deeper (to expose the nitty-gritty?) and be willing to read/watch pieces from both sides of the issue as you decide how to best incorporate the ideas and philosophies into your own life and work with students. To that end, this week’s Friday Four includes a few of the perspectives that I have run across that address the topic of “grit.” I have tried to give you a range of opinions on the topic so that you can wrestle with the underlying themes and decide for yourself where you come down on the issue. I encourage you to explore beyond these few links and engage your colleagues in discussions about the topic…it is an important one for education and educators.
- The NYTimes reviewed Tough’s book in August of this year. If you are unfamiliar with the book, this might be a good place to start.
- Education Nation featured the topic in one of their panel discussions during their most recent summit in NYC.
- Valerie Strauss, the education writer for The Washington Post, wrote a piece recently that is more critical of the “grit” mantra, as she puts it.
- The Huffington Post featured a piece from outspoken education writer Alfie Kohn that also calls into question the “failure is good” theme that is a cornerstone of the the “grit” discussion.