My dissatisfaction with the current overbearing schedule for students in high school has led me to do quite a bit of reading. (To see my reading list about success and education, click here.) One of the first books I read was Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcom Gladwell. It had been on my reading list for awhile for completely unrelated reasons, so when it was recommended to me as a follow up to World Class Learners: Educating Creative and Entrepreneurial Students by Yong Zhao, I moved it to the top. Among other things, World Class Learners used Steve Jobs, an Outlier, as an example of a successful entrepreneur so much that I was curious to see an analysis of his success….
Will today’s schools prepare your child for success? If you’re questioning if test, retest and homework, homework, homework, are the best path to success, then this reading list for success is for you.
Following is a reading list of books for success I’ve read and would recommend about figuring out a path for your children in today’s educational world to prepare them for tomorrow’s reality. (At this point, this is only a partial list of what I’ve read. This is just the start of the list so that I can start making links. New books, both past and present, will be updated. When I can, I’ll also update with links to posts that I publish.)…
Most Likely to Succeed, by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith has been on my reading stack for awhile. Our school district will have a special showing, so I moved it to the top of the stack! I’m really hopeful that a switch to this approach will help the homework load problem in our school. But, more importantly, from my research so far – including reading The Smartest Kids in the World, How Children Succeed, and Outliers – I think this approach will help better prepare our children for success in LIFE, not just in school.
I’m going to try a new approach, posting quotes to Twitter and Facebook as I read. Don’t have time to read the book? Follow along on my Twitter or Facebook account. (Kindle posts to my author personal Facebook account and won’t allow to share to my page, E.S. Ivy Author. If anyone knows how to fix this, let me know!)
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In this series of posts, I’ve been exploring the ideas in How Children Succeed, that suggest that doing well in school won’t lead to success. As a final note, in How Children Succeed, Paul Tough spent a lot of time defining success as disadvantaged students graduating from college. However, his book shows that –
College isn’t needed for success.
Let me follow this by immediately saying that we’ve decided that our kids will go to college, which I might cover in another post, but for now I’m just going to go over the evidence that shows that is isn’t necessary for success….
In my last post about How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough, I considered how Advanced Placement (AP, IB, and other courses designed to teach college courses at the high school level) try to challenge high achieving students. Certainly, these rigorous (often defined as requiring lots of hours of study outside of class, that is, homework) can teach self-discipline, which is measured by grades. However, good grades don’t always lead to success. And my research has shown that for the jobs of the future, we really need to be teaching innovators. So what do grades have to do with teaching innovators? Nothing.
“[Self-discipline] may be very useful for predicting who will graduate from high school, but it’s not as relevant when it come to identifying who might invent a new technology or direct an award-winning movie.” – Angela Duckworth, How Children Succeed p 74
Self-discipline isn’t good a good predictor of innovators and teaching it isn’t teaching innovators.
This really gets to the heart of what I’m searching for….
In How Children Succeed, Paul Tough found that good grades and lots of homework aren’t future predictors of success. Students need to learn how to set and approach goals with mental contrasting, grit, the ability to take on challenges and face failures, and the ability to persuade other people to give them what they need.
Providing challenges is often given as a reason for AP classes (Advanced Placement courses, or IB courses, college courses designed to be taught in high school and success measured by a standardized exam.) But in our personal experience, that isn’t happening for several reasons. In How Children Succeed, there was evidence that agreed with this view….
So if good grades and lots of homework aren’t future predictors of success, what are the factors that do lead to success? In his book, How Children Succeed, Paul Tough looks at characteristics they found in students from an underprivileged school where they measured success as graduating from college.
When KIPP started looking at their students who did finish college, they found that instead of being those that were the best scholars while they were at KIPP, “They were the students who were able to recover from the bad grades and resolve to do better, bounce back from [personal conflicts]; could persuade professors to give them extra help after class; could resist the urge [to have fun] and stay home and study.” – How Children Succeed, p 52
Obviously resisting “the urge [to have fun] and stay home and study” relates to self-discipline, but remember that while grades are a measure of self-discipline, good grades alone were not a good predictor of which students from KIPP would go on to graduate from college.…
As I covered in my post about getting back into the schedule of the school year, teens in high school are busy, busy, busy, trying to make sure they have enough AP classes, keep their GPA and their class rank high, and fill all the rest of the “free” time they have with extracurriculars and service hours, hoping to have resumes spectacular enough to get into a “good” college. It’s common knowledge that if you do your best in high school – especially if it means you can be valedictorian! – it will show everyone, including colleges, that you have what it takes to be a success in life. But does that common knowledge have it right?
Have we gone to far with the rigor of high school with overwhelming loads of AP classes, extracurriculars and volunteerism? Are there enough hours in a day? And if you don’t encourage that standard of excellence, are you encouraging your child to be a slacker?
If you don’t do what everyone else is doing, how can you be sure your kid is going to succeed?!?
It’s a question that keeps parents up at night.
So when I came across the book How Children Succeed, by Paul Tough, I read it. (I was up, after all.)…
Read the book?
Seen the movie?
Yes and yes.
I love a science fiction or fantasy novel that includes real science. And the book has more science than the movie.
Is the book The Martian, by Andy Weir, suitable for kids?
As I’ve outlined in my previous posts, I’ve been pondering how to guide our kids to the best path of success, starting in high school by analyzing success factors. One answer might be that you try to move into a school district according to the high school ratings. Our school ranks well in U.S. News 2014 Best High Schools Rankings, but what does this mean?
I started thinking about this when we noticed that high school kids at our school seemed to have over-whelming schedules and then noted our own experiences with a full schedules of preAP and AP classes.
In my last post, I gave a quick rundown of my take on The Smartest Kids in the World: and how they got that way, by Amanda Ripley.
What I took from that was that was that based on the studies of Finland and Poland’s educational systems, stress, test, and retest might not be necessary for success. And South Korea’s school system shows that a high stress and test environment has some definite drawbacks.
So I was surprised that when I started reading Amanda Ripley’s blog, I kept running into statistics that used AP tests as a measure of whether of a high school was an academic success. She seems to agree with using AP tests as a way to determine school ratings….