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Is Perseverance the New Long Division?

Aaron Jacobs
Flickr Creative Commons

It’s a brave new world, and the old public school curriculum of Reading, Writing, and ’rithmetic is being added to and evolved in fascinating ways every year. According to Quartz.com, new research shows that teaching kids how to control their emotions by training them in skills like perseverance can improve their health, academic achievement and overall happiness.

In the past, these sorts of subjects were considered hands off because they opened the door to moralizing by teachers. But as brain science becomes more and more solid, these topics are finding their way into the classroom.

Countries like Singapore, China and Britain have begun investing more time and money into scientific research on character. This fall, California will begin testing for character. But measuring character traits in children can be a perilous task. When you ask a kid how persistent she is, her answers are bound to be tainted by lying widely varying reference points, depending on different personal factors. But teaching skills like perseverance and confidence can make a huge difference.

When students become less connected to school, it negatively affects grades, behavior, and even health. According to one study, 40% to 60% of kids are chronically disengaged from school by the time they reach high school.