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What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?
Over the course of the next year and a half, Duckworth worked with Levin and Randolph to turn the list of seven strengths into a two-page evaluation, a questionnaire that could be completed by teachers or parents, or by students themselves. For each strength, teachers suggested a variety of “indicators,” much like the questions Duckworth asked people to respond to on her grit questionnaire, and she road-tested several dozen of them at Riverdale and KIPP. She eventually settled on the 24 most statistically reliable ones, from “This student is eager to explore new things” (an indicator of curiosity) to “This student believes that effort will improve his or her future” (optimism). For Levin, the next step was clear. Wouldn’t it be cool, he mused, if each student graduated from school with not only a G.P.A. but also a C.P.A., for character-point average? Photo Back at Riverdale, though, the idea of a character report card made Randolph nervous. Video Continue reading the main story

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html

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This article, by Paul Tough, provides a brief overview of one of the case studies featured in his book "How Children Succeed." Dominic Randolph, headmaster of Riverdale Community School (one of New York's most competitive private schools) denounces many facets of modern American education including Advanced Placement courses, standardized testing, and excessive homework. Alternately, he believes that this focus on testing and academic performance neglects to address "some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human." This article relates the story of how a meeting between Randolph, Martin Seligman (author of "Learned Optimism") and David Levin (founder of New York’s KIPP schools) led to the development of a list of 24 character strengths that are essential to leading “a life that [is] not just happy but also meaningful and fulfilling.” The implementation of efforts to foster the development of these character strengths in the children of these New York schools, in such a way that children often experience to failure along the way to success, is both enlightening and inspiring. by kandace_stephenson Nov 22

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