education | February 11, 2013

Strong Support Networks Help Children Overcome Adversity: Paul Tough [VIDEO]

Sometimes children are exposed to such seemingly insurmountable obstacles that they can lose faith in their potential to succeed. As education speaker Paul Tough explains in a recent keynote, being told that you can succeed has a tremendous impact on your actual ability to do so. While having a strong support system doesn't improve the IQ that you are born with, it does improve your self-confidence. Children who are nurtured and supported in their academic ventures are more likely to achieve their goals that children who are not—often regardless of each child's intelligence. Children do better when they're told that they have a bright future.

That's because a nurturing environment helps a child to develop positive character traits; skills that Tough advocates as being key components of success in his bestselling book How Children Succeed. In his talk, he explains that new research is helping us discover what it is that truly propels children forward in life. While it is inspirational to hear stories about children who have overcome adversity, he says that it can often leave us feeling empty, as well. When we only hear about a select few children who beat the odds, we can be left wondering why they succeeded when so many others did not. But new research is helping us pinpoint the skills and strategies that help children succeed. When we know what it takes to help children do their best, Paul says we can then provide that unique help to the kids who need it and change the face of education.

As well as being the author of How Children Succeed, Tough is also a contributing writer at New York Times Magazine. He also wrote Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America, where he explored what was necessary to help underserved children improve their lives and their education. His groundbreaking writing and keynotes combine multiple disciplines and decades of research to breathe new life into the debate over how to best teach our kids. It's not all about intelligence, he's found, and by valuing character skills and building stronger support networks for our children, he believes we can help more children succeed.

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digital and social media | February 10, 2013