The Power of Character: Education Speaker Paul Tough on This American Life
These personal skills—which Tough refers to as "character"—are particularly underdeveloped in children who come from unstable, broken, or abusive households. What is encouraging, however, is that students with severely troubled upbringings can learn, and even master, these important skills with the right amount of positive reinforcement and teaching. "Secure attachment," he says, whether coming from a parent, a teacher, or even a role model, can help keep children on the right track. Providing support and establishing a deep interpersonal bond can have a tremendous impact on a child's learning potential—as "character" needs to be learned and developed, just like reading, writing and math. His intensive research explores the link between nature and nurture and the connection between neurological development and childhood environment. Tough's speeches provide a fresh perspective on how to best educate our most troubled youth, and challenges long-held beliefs that are entrenched in our current education system.