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Valerie Strauss – How schools are turning ‘joy’ into a character strength — and why it’s an awful idea

Back in March I published a post titled, “Now some schools are testing kids for their ‘grit’ and ‘joy’ levels. Really.” For years we’ve heard of schools viewing “grit” as a character strength and moving to measure how much grit students have while attempting to build it up in those deficient. Now one of the co-authors of that post is back with a piece on a similar effort with “joy” — and why this effort to elicit joy in students is not authentic social-emotional learning but instead counterproductive.

This was written by Joan Goodman, a professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania who has served as a director of the school’s Teach for America program. Goodman is a psychologist who has spent her career combining applied psychology with teaching. She is also an expert in moral education and she studies the practices and moral underpinnings of school discipline and authority in classrooms.

This appeared on the EduShyster blog of Jennifer Berkshire, a freelance journalist and public education advocate who worked for six years editing a newspaper for the American Federation of Teachers in Massachusetts. She gave me permission to republish this piece.

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