Article Review: How Kids Really Succeed

It is not uncommon to hear of parents and educators, particularly GT parents, complaining about today’s children’s lack of resilience, or “grit”. In recent past, proposals to purposefully create difficulties to help kids to develop such “grit” have gained attention from time to time. In GT kids case, some even suggested that holding them back and forcing them to “deal” with sitting in a classroom working through boring exercises may be a good way to instill resilience in these GT kids. I think this is an article that defunct such myth once and for all, using actual practice and understanding derived from actual practice. More specifically, I think this paragraph captures the most essential idea — the capitalizations are added by me for emphasis:

“The central premise … is that character is built not through lectures or direct instruction from teachers but through the experience of persevering as students confront CHALLENGING academic work. This, to me, is the most significant innovation in the work that is going on … In general, when schools do try to directly address the impact that a stress-filled childhood might have on disadvantaged students, the first—and often the only—approach they employ has to do with their students’ emotional health, with relationships and belonging. And while those students certainly need the sense of connection that comes from feeling embedded within a web of deep and close relationships at school, the crucial insight of EL Education is that BELONGING ISN’T ENOUGH ON ITS OWN. For a student to TRULY feel motivated by and about school, he also has to perceive that he is doing work that is CHALLENGING, RIGOROUS, and MEANINGFUL.”

What do you all think of this article?