Season 3: Episode 5 – The Formative Five with Tom Hoerr [Podcast]


Today we are speaking with Tom Hoerr who wrote the Formative Five: Fostering Grit, Empathy, and other Success Skills Every Student Needs. Thomas R. Hoerr retired after leading the New City School in St. Louis, Missouri, for 34 years and is now the Emeritus Head of School. He teaches at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and holds a PhD from Washington University in St. Louis.

Hoerr has written four books and more than 100 articles, including “The Principal Connection” column in Educational Leadership magazine, and is an enthusiastic basketball player. We used one of his books – Fostering Grit -last year in our Summer Academy, and I look forward to talking with him today!

Here is what we talked about:

  1. What do you mean by the formative five? Why are these skills necessary for our students?
  2. How can teachers and/or leaders help students develop empathy, and why is it important to take action?
  3. Why is it important for us to provide opportunities for students to develop self-control?
  4. You have several surveys in your book to help the readers reflect on attitudes and tendencies? Why is it important for us to reflect on these – for example, integrity and/or embracing diversity?
  5. What are the short and long-term benefits of students developing grit?
  6. Why is school culture so important? How does it affect teaching and learning?
  7. What are you working on next??

Join in the conversation!

Each episode we’ll leave you with a question or two to think about with the idea of provoking conversation.

This week’s questions:

  1. How can you as a leader/teacher offer students opportunities to develop the formative five?
  2. How can we as adults model the development of the formative five?

You can join the conversation by leaving a comment below or by using the hashtag #TLTalkRadio on Twitter.

Explore Additional Resources:

In this episode, we provided many resources pertaining to Erik’s work.  Additional information available at:

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