How Children (learn to) Succeed

Through the intro to Paul Tough’s book, one can find that it’s somewhat unconventional to what parents and students are known to believe. To say that, for example, children will learn something by repetition is a commonplace ideal. Tough thinks that parents have been raising their children the wrong ways.


Taking a brief look at the Fat Brain Toys website, we see the more conventional approach to teaching children what to do and what not to. Toys with repetition, that make children focus and learn are what their mission statement is. If you can beat something into a child with continuous repetition, good for you. That’s really how most brain games work.


Tough suggests that we haven’t been utilizing the more basic, primal time frames with children. He explains that you can make a child learn something by simply making them repeat it over and over. He says that people have been looking in the wrong places to find the answers as to why specific children don’t succeed. His answer is simple, as stated above: “if we want to improve the odds for children in general, and for poor children in particular, we need to approach childhood anew, to start over with some fundamental questions about how parents affect their children; how human skills develop; how character is formed” (Tough xxiv)


That should say it all. Children won’t succeed to their full potential if they’re always being beaten down, or verbally abused at home. They won’t do as well as they should with constant neglect, and that’s the basis to Tough’s research.


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