"Let's believe in young people. Let's provide them the right kinds of resources. I'll tell you what my teacher did for me. She believed in me so much that she tricked me into believing in myself."
Define students by what they contribute, not what they lack — especially those with difficult upbringings, says educator Victor Rios. Interweaved with his personal tale of perseverance as an inner-city youth, Rios identifies three straightforward strategies to shift attitudes in education and calls for fellow educators to see "at-risk" students as "at-promise" individuals brimming with resilience, character and grit.
Based on over a decade of research, Rios created Project GRIT (Generating Resilience to Inspire Transformation) a human development program that works with educators to refine leadership, civic engagement and personal and academic empowerment in young people placed at-risk.
Rios is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.