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Sweating the Soft Stuff: Qualities Needed for Learning and How to Nurture Them

You don’t have to be a teacher to know that motivation, persistence, curiosity, conscientiousness, and other such personal qualities make a big difference in student learning. And you might think there is little you can do about them. But new research—in brain science, social science, and economics—makes a compelling case that these essential qualities, and even intelligence itself, can be developed—at school as well as at home. A new research review by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research concurs.

Come to the 2012 Chicago School Policy Forum Series to learn what this research can mean for policy and practice. Both lead speakers—journalist Paul Tough and researcher Camille Farrington—argue that school reform needs a course correction. In the words of Tough, “We have been focusing on the wrong skills and abilities in our children, and we have been using the wrong strategies to help nurture and teach those skills.” 
Paul Tough, author of the just-published How Children Succeed and Whatever It Takes, his 2008 examination of the Harlem Children's Zone, will kick off the series on Sept. 27. Barbara Bowman, co-founder and past president of the Erikson Institute, a graduate school in early childhood education, will respond.

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