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See Inside Scientific American Mind Volume 23, Issue 4

Schools Add Workouts for Attention, Grit and Emotional Control

Scientists, politicians and celebrities are remaking schools as gyms for the brain where teachers build the mental brawn for attention, perseverance and emotional control



CHRISTOPHER MORRIS

A tiny dark-haired girl bedecked in a brown dress with a crinoline skirt sits calmly on the rug in front of her class of fellow kindergartners; her pink boots, dotted with sparkles, are tucked neatly under her legs. Wielding a small metal rod, she taps on a triangular chime. At the tone, her classmates clasp their hands together like a cup, with the back of one hand in the palm of the other, close their eyes, fall silent, and proceed to say and do apparently nothing.

Minutes pass. Then the fancily frocked girl strikes the triangle a second time. Kids begin to open their eyes, and after a pause a sweet, high-pitched “thank you” emerges from the girl, and she reassumes her place among her classmates.

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