The Circle School Blog

An occasional thing

The Circle School Blog

Staff member JD Stillwater

I heard most of this radio interview the other morning, with Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, and I was thinking of The Circle School the entire time.  I wonder if Paul Tough has heard of what we do here; I see some promising parallels.  I went to copy a few snippets from the interview that were especially good, and found myself wanting to copy the entire thing!  It seems that nearly every line speaks of what we’re doing here at TCS.

Mr. Tough makes a distinction between skills which can be improved with early, frequent practice, like throwing basketballs or memorizing, and skills for which practice is little help, like curiosity or initiative.  Most schools only address the ones which lend themselves to drill-and-practice.  He suggests that both kinds are necessary ingredients for success.
Here’s a sample, paraphrased:
A child’s success can’t be measured in IQ scores, standardized tests or vocabulary quizzes. Success is about how young people build character.

There are two stages [of parenthood]. When kids are really young — in their first year or two — what kids need is support, attention, parents who are really attuned to the child’s needs. But at some point what kids need is independence and challenge. They need less parenting. They need parents to really stand back, let them fall and get back up, fight their own battles.

If you have time, listen to the entire seven-minute interview; it’s worth it!  The link above offers the whole thing in audio, or just the highlights in text.