Paul Tough, Author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character, will be the Opening Keynote Speaker at the 2013 National Smart Start Conference, April 30 to May 2, 2013.
Tough challenges our culture’s belief that intelligence, endlessly measured by test scores, is the sole indicator of value in our education system. It’s not. In How Children Succeed, he ushers in a tidal change in thinking and argues that non-cognitive skills?or, character?are better indicators of success: curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control, and grit.
In this talk, Tough will lay it bare: we believe that success comes from those who score highest on tests, from preschool to SATs. Yet evidence indicates that our story here might be dead wrong. The work of a new generation of researchers and educators points to the fact that the qualities that have a better shot at indicating lifelong success are “non cognitive” or what we might refer to as “personality traits” such as: curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control, and grit. Using the tools of science, Tough will peel back the mysteries of character and traces the links between early childhood neurological development and environment. By showing how “nature” and “nurture” are intertwined.
A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, Paul Tough is also the author of Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America, which focuses on the steps necessary to improve the lives and education of underserved children. Through the case study of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Tough describes the inspiring struggle to establish a way to combat poverty that could be replicated nationwide. Tough has also contributed to This American Life and The New Yorker, where he has honed his focus upon education, poverty, parenting, and politics.