Paul Tough: A New Take on ‘Character’

Access and Inclusion February 01, 2015

In this interview, Paul Tough – author of How Children Succeed and other works – redefines “character” as a collection of skills and habits that children can all practice, learn and improve, not least at school.

“Character” refers to skills like the ability to persist, bounce back after a failure, or deal well with a confrontation. “They’re really about how we think of ourselves,” he says.

According to Paul Tough, there are two ways to develop these skills – through self-examination and by being given opportunities to challenge them, even improving them through failure. Skills’ assessment depends on long-term outcomes rather than next week’s test.