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Jun 26, 2017

How to raise a genius: lessons from a 45-year study of super-smart children

On a summer day in 1968, professor Julian Stanley met a brilliant but bored 12-year-old named Joseph Bates. The Baltimore student was so far ahead of his classmates in mathematics that his parents had arranged for him to take a computer-science course at Johns Hopkins University, where Stanley taught. Even that wasn't enough. Having leapfrogged ahead of the adults in the class, the child kept himself busy by teaching the FORTRAN programming language to graduate students.Unsure of what to do with Bates, his computer instructor introduced him to Stanley, a researcher well known for his work in psychometrics — the ...


Dec 05, 2016

Beyond Grit: The Science of Creativity, Purpose, and Motivation

"Your interests and your passion develop over time. I want to disabuse people of this mythology of 'it happens to you and if you're lucky, you find it, and then that's all you have to do.'" Angela Duckworth is a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the bestselling author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. She is the Founder and Scientific Director of a non-profit, Character Lab, and in 2013 was named a recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship. Recently, she joined Adam Grant for an evening of conversation as a part of the Authors@Wharton ...


Mar 31, 2017

Reading, Writing, and Purpose: Why We Should Teach Kids Meaning at School

“Teaching children their purpose, getting them engaged in these bigger questions, can actually bolster and support their academic learning.” Scott Barry Kaufman is a cognitive psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, the scientific director of The Imagination Institute, and the author of Ungifted and Wired to Create. He recently joined Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, for a Heleo Conversation on the ways we can build meaning in schools.This conversation has been edited and condensed. Scott: You’ve just written this wonderful book on meaning, and I’m deeply interested in ...


Apr 06, 2016

5 Myths Working Against Character Education in Our Schools

Social and emotional learning (SEL) and character education make a lot of common sense. We know that students have to be prepared for college, career, and life success. We also know that families and communities are not reliably providing the kinds of experiences that all students need. So SEL and character education would seem to be essential aspects of educational practice and policy. But they are not. Marvin Berkowitz and I have identified five myths that are holding back progress in SEL and character education. These myths need to be directly identified and confronted through caring conversations with faculty, administrators, ...


Apr 29, 2016

7 lessons about finding the work you were meant to do

You don’t "find your calling," you fight for it — and other lessons from people who found their passion (sometimes late in life).Whether it was during a career aptitude test or in a heart-to-heart chat after getting laid off, chances are someone has talked to you about how to “find your calling.” It’s one of those phrases people toss about. But StoryCorps founder Dave Isay takes issue with it … specifically, the verb.“Finding your calling — it’s not passive,” he says. “When people have found their calling, they’ve made tough decisions and sacrifices in order to do ...


Nov 04, 2017

How Anxiety Leads to Disruptive Behavior

10-year-old boy named James has an outburst in school. Upset by something a classmate says to him, he pushes the other boy, and a shoving-match ensues. When the teacher steps in to break it up, James goes ballistic, throwing papers and books around the classroom and bolting out of the room and down the hall. He is finally contained in the vice principal’s office, where staff members try to calm him down. Instead, he kicks the vice principal in a frenzied effort to escape. The staff calls 911, and James ends up in the Emergency Room.To the uninitiated, James ...


Nov 01, 2017

How to Help Kids Talk About Learning Disabilities

"I learn differently."Three small words that can make a world of difference for kids like me who grew up struggling with learning issues.Sounds simple enough, right?Wrong.If your child has a learning disability, getting her help—working with the school to get an effective IEP—is the first thing on your mind. But helping her get comfortable talking about it is also important. And for a lot of kids, opening up isn't as easy as it sounds.Why your child needs to speak upWithout context, the symptoms of LD can look like laziness or disobedience, and, ...


Jan 13, 2013

The Passion Gap

“Nothing great in the World has been accomplished without passion.” -- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher, 1832I recently spoke at the Dell Innovation in Education Panel at the Texas Association of School Administrators 2013 Conference in Austin.When we were invited to sum up at the end, I realized that one guest had not been invited to the table: Passion. I was the first to interject this word, saying that “passion should not be the number one thing on the agenda, it IS the agenda.”The #TASA13 hashtag on Twitter, which had been moving moderately, exploded, with several dozen tweets ...


Aug 09, 2016

What Teens Need Most From Their Parents

The teenage years can be mystifying for parents. Sensible children turn scatter-brained or start having wild mood swings. Formerly level-headed adolescents ride in cars with dangerous drivers or take other foolish risks.A flood of new research offers explanations for some of these mysteries. Brain imaging adds another kind of data that can help test hypotheses and corroborate teens' own accounts of their behavior and emotions. Dozens of recent multiyear studies have traced adolescent development through time, rather than comparing sets of adolescents at a single point.The new longitudinal research is changing scientists' views on the role parents play ...


May 25, 2016

Why Grit Can’t Be Taught Like Math

Because noncognitive qualities like grit, curiosity, self-control, optimism, and conscientiousness are often described, with some accuracy, as skills,educators eager to develop these qualities in their students quite naturally tend to treat them like the skills that we already know how to teach: reading, calculating, analyzing, and so on. And as the value of noncognitive skills has become more widely acknowledged, demand has grown for a curriculum or a textbook or a teaching strategy to guide us in helping students develop these skills. If we can all agree on the most effective way to teach the Pythagorean theorem, can’t ...