Children Who Fail at School But Succeed at Life

Lessons from Lives Well-Lived

Mark Katz (Author)

Overview | Contents

Understanding resiliency and student success by studying people who succumbed to risk but later triumphed.

A number of people who failed in school currently enjoy meaningful and successful lives. They include, though they are by no means limited to, those with attention and executive function challenges, learning disabilities, learning and behavioral challenges arising out of traumatic events in their lives, and even those impacted by all of the above.

Up until recently, little attention was paid to successful people who did poorly in school. Why? One reason might be that many of us doubted that it was actually possible. After all, many loving parents and caring teachers spent countless hours trying their hardest to help these failing children turn things around in school, sometimes with little or nothing to show for it. If these children continued to struggle and fail in school with all this help and support, it was understandable to assume that they would not succeed in the real world decades later without it.

So what did we miss? Why were we so wrong about them? And perhaps most importantly, how can their life experiences help educators and parents understand what schools can do better to support students who are struggling today? In his groundbreaking new book, Mark Katz draws on research findings in clinical and social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, education, and other fields of study—as well as stories of successful individuals who overcame years of school failure—to answer these and other questions. In the process, he shows how children who fail at school but succeed at life can give teachers and schools, counselors and health care professionals, parents and guardians—even those whose childhood struggles have persisted into their adult years—new remedies for combatting learning, behavioral, and emotional challenges; reducing juvenile crime, school dropout, and substance abuse; improving our health and well-being; and preventing medical problems later in life.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • April 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-71141-7
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 304 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“While applicable to all educators, this book will be especially helpful to those who work with at-risk students. We educators always talk of designing success for our children and this text gives us the resources necessary to achieve that goal. It should be required reading at the university level.” — School Administrator

“Katz does a great job of exploring ideas and ways that we, as adults within society, can strive to positively influence the learning experiences and learning needs of our youths. He explores what needs to change in order to support youngsters who are intelligent but greatly misunderstood. . . [W]e must understand how mental illness, a behavioral problem, poor emotion regulation, environmental stressors within the home or community, etc. can influence learning. This is one of the most important realities to keep in mind and thankfully there is a good book to help us stay focused.” — PsychCentral

“You know how some articles and books inspire you to exclaim ‘yes!’, at least to yourself? That’s how we at Parenting Press felt when we opened Children Who Fail at School But Succeed at Life . . . . By the second page of the preface, we were nodding in agreement with author Mark Katz. . . . [A] terrific new book.” — Parenting Press newsletter

“Thoughtful, sincere, and packed with useful information and imaginative ideas, this book is a highly worthwhile read.” — Human Givens Journal

“Katz provides and eye-opening look beyond the hype of traditional resilience theory and into our personal responsibilities as professionals working with children to reshape our thinking and thereby help us to improve outcomes for each child.” — School Social Work Journal

Children Who Fail at School But Succeed at Life should be required reading for anyone devoting their personal and/or professional lives to preparing the next generation for their future. ” — Sam Goldstein, PhD, University of Utah School of Medicine, co-author of Raising Resilient Children

“Compelling and powerful, Children Who Fail at School But Succeed at Life is a must-read for all who have educated or parented a child with learning or behavioral challenges. Grounded in the rich stories of five individuals, the book sheds light on the erroneous perceptions that we so commonly attribute to children who struggle at school. With striking clarity, Dr. Katz synthesizes the research of current thought leaders (himself included) in the field of education and psychology, revealing how our homes and classrooms can become landscapes for life-altering turning-point experiences for children.” — Katie Wright, Director of Special Education, High Tech High Charter Schools

Also by Mark Katz All

  1. Book CoverOn Playing a Poor Hand Well: Insights from the Lives of Those Who Have Overcome Childhood Risks and Adversities


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