For Educators

NEW! Measurement matters: Assessing personal qualities other than cognitive ability for educational purposes.

If grit and self-control are so important, should schools and policymakers measure them? The answer to this simple question is a little complicated. See this article, co-authored with David Yeager for our perspective (pdf). (Please see these links as well for the press release and video created by the American Educational Research Association).

NEW! Emotion Revolution: Be Your Biggest Fan
The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Born This Way Foundation are excited to announce their new initiative, the Emotion Revolution. The project aims to build awareness around the critical role of emotions in learning, decision-making, and both student and educator wellness and effectiveness. The goal is to drive the national conversation that charges schools with increasing their focus on building positive school climates and integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) to improve young people’s prospects for leading happy, healthy, and productive lives. For more info on the Emotion Revolution and to get involved please visit:

NEW! Rethinking Positive Psychology: Inside the New Science of Motivation
Our collaborator Gabriele Oettingen developed a powerful and deceptively simple tool called “WOOP”- scientifically shown to help people become more energized and directed. Easy to learn and apply, the tool was designed to improve health, nurture better relationship, and perform better at school and at work. Her new book and free downloadable app guides you (and your students or children) how to set goals and make plans to achieve them. View ]

We are always looking for educators with whom to collaborate. Register your school by clicking the link below if you are interested in being involved with research on self-control and grit. [ Sign up Here ]

What’s on our bookshelf: Recommended reading for educators


On purpose, gratitude, mindset, goal setting, and optimism:


Damon, W. (2008). The path to purpose: How young people find their calling in life. New York: The Free Press.


Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.


Emmons, R. A. (2007). Thanks!: How the new science of gratitude can make you happier. New York: First Houghton Mifflin.


Oettingen, G. (2014). Rethinking positive thinking: Inside the new science of motivation. New York: Current.


Seligman, M. E. (1990). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life. NY: Random House LLC.


On effective studying:


Bjork, E. L., & Bjork, R. A. (2011). Making things hard on yourself, but in a good way: Creating desirable difficulties to enhance learning. In F. Foundation, M. A. Gernsbacher, R. W. Pew, L. M. Hough & J. R. Pomerantz (Eds.), Psychology and the real world: Essays illustrating fundamental contributions to society (pp. 56-64). New York, NY: Worth Publishers. (pdf)

Brown, P. C., Roediger III, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it stick: The science of successful learning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


Kornell, N., & Bjork, R. A. (2007). The promise and perils of self-regulated study. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review14(2), 219-224. (pdf)


Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles concepts and evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest9(3), 105-119. (pdf)


Schwartz, B. L., Son, L. K., Kornell, N., & Finn, B. (2011). Four principles of memory improvement: A guide to improving learning efficiency. The International Journal of Creativity & Problem Solving, 21(1), 7-15. (pdf)


Willingham, D. T. (2009). Why don't students like school?: A cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons.


On interventions across childhood and adolescence:


Duckworth, A. L., Tsukayama, E., & Patrick, S. D. (2014, April). A tripartite taxonomy of character. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, Philadelphia, PA. (pdf)


Heckman, J. J., Humphries, J. E., & Kautz, T. (Eds.). (2014). The Myth of Achievement Tests: The GED and the Role of Character in American Life. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Kautz, T., Heckman, J., Diris, R., Weel, B., & Borghans, L. (2014). Fostering and measuring skills: Improving cognitive and non-cognitive skills to promote lifetime success (No. 8696). The Institute for the Study of Labor.


Mischel, W. (2014). The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-control. New York, NY: Little, Brown.


On deliberate practice and skill development:


Ericsson, K. A., Prietula, M. J., & Cokely, E. T. (2007). The making of an expert. Harvard Business Review, 85, 115-121. (pdf)


Educational Resources

A Behind-the-Scenes Guide to School-Based Research: An article on conducting school-based research.
View ]

KIPP Character Growth Card: A measure used by some KIPP schools in 2012-2013.
Character Lab website ]

Scholastic Magazine Interview: An interview conducted by Scholastic Magazine in 2014.
View ]

Summary Article on Grit: A concise description of grit.
View ]

Can Perseverance Be Taught?: An essay on the origins of grit.
View ]

Is It Really Self-Control? An analysis of the famous “marshmallow test”
View ]


Angela Duckworth at TED Ed, 05/13
Video ]

Angela Duckworth at TEDxBlue, 10/09
Video ]

Talks for Teachers

Talks for Teachers is an invitation-only series of talks for K-12 educators made possible by our collaboration with the Character Lab. This series was inspired by lectures written for teachers by psychologist and philosopher William James over a century ago. The talks for the 2013-14 year have been edited to produce the videos below: 

Michael Baime on Mindfulness and Stress [ Video ] 

Bill Damon on Purpose [ Video ] 

Will Dobbie on What Economists are Learning About Education [ Video ] 

Angela Duckworth on Strategies for Self-Control [ Video ] 

Amanda Ripley on the Smartest Kids in the World [ Video ] 

Laurence Steinberg on Why Adolescence Matters More than Ever [ Video ]  Learn more by reading Dr. Steinberg's new book, Age of Opportunity

Jim Stigler on How to Improve Mathematics Teaching [ Video ] 

Greg Walton on Growth Mindset, Social Belonging, & Academic Persistence [ Video ] 

Grant Wiggins on Formative Assessment & Character Development  [ Video ]

Tim Wilson on Changing the Stories We Live By [ Video ] 

School Research Leader Boot Camp

This one-day intensive training session was attended by a highly select group of school leaders who will be leading research in their communities in the 2014-15 academic year, as well as full-time project managers who will be working in close partnership on the same projects. This event was invitation only and made possible with generous support from the Character Lab. Please follow this link to learn more about the Character Lab: Click here.

To prepare for SRL Boot Camp, attendees were asked to read this article on the ins and outs of conducting school-based research: Click here.

If you would like to see the agenda, please follow this link: Click here.

Past and Present School Partners

We are excited and thankful to have collaborated with so many schools from all over the country. To see a list of our school partners, click here.