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The blurb has been rejigged to appeal to a UK audience, but when Paul Tough writes about deprivation and how children’s home lives can dramatically affect their educational outcomes, he’s referencing youngsters growing up in some of the poorest areas of the United States. That doesn’t mean, however, that what he has to say can’t be put into context this side of the pond, especially at a time when the socioeconomic divide in Britain is yawning ever wider. He believes that in order to help young people grow up into successful, happy adults, it’s essential that they are helped to develop such personal qualities as perseverance, optimism, self-control and ‘grit’ – attributes we tend to think of as innate, but which, according to his research and experience, can be instilled, nurtured and embedded by a combination of good parenting and sturdy educational intervention. It’s a fascinating – and ultimately uplifting – read.
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