Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning

Psychologist, Educator and Author Kenneth Kohutek Ph.D. on his new book “Chloe and Josh Learn Grit”

September 9, 2019

Welcome back to the “Neuroscience Meets SEL Podcast” EPISODE 18 this is Andrea Samadi. This interview will be broadcast on YouTube as well as on the regular podcast channel, so be sure to look for the YouTube link in the show notes if you would like to view the video.

Today we have someone I have been friends with for almost 10 years. I’ll never forget seeing the review he left for my first book[i] on Amazon and when I saw his interest in what I was doing, I reached out to him to learn more about how he was using books like mine in schools, to see how I could improve.  Dr. Kohutek has spent his adult life working in the fields of psychology, neuropsychology and education. Through the experience of working with a myriad of students in settings ranging from Charter, Title I, Parochial schools, residential treatment centers, and psychiatric hospitals. He’s able to provide examples of situations which many elementary and middle school students experience in today’s educational system.

I’ve been interested in his books[ii] over the years, and this is our second interview. We spoke many years ago about enhancing children’s cognitive abilities, years before educational neuroscience was so prevalent in our schools.  I was thrilled and honored when he asked me to write the Foreword to his most recent book, “Chloe and Josh Learn Grit and Resilience with Grit Gal” volume 1, available this week at Barnes and Noble[iii] and Amazon[iv] Welcome Dr. Kohutek, who is on campus today at St. Dominic Savio Catholic High School in Austin, Texas. 

Q1: I love this book, especially with it being the first Foreword I have ever written, thank you for this opportunity! Can you tell me what inspired you to write a book on Grit, Mindset and Resilience?

Q2: For years I envisioned tools and books like this in our classrooms and am excited to see the results it will produce. What made you intertwine the social and emotional competencies with the cognitive capabilities—which is exactly what I am doing here on the podcast? 

Q3: I love how the book covers these skills connected to stories because our brain looks for and stores memories based on emotions and stories are one way to elicit that emotion. Was there a particular student who made you think of Grit Gal providing the insight to overcome each of the seven stories?

Q4: Why do you think the discussion questions with each chapter are so important? How can you see each chapter helping a student whether they are working with their teacher in the classroom, or at home, with their family?

Q5: Why do you think this book is so timely? Why do most people never develop Grit?

Q6: What is your vision for this book? I see that you are already working on Volume 2. What topics are coming up next?

Q7: What are your final words of wisdom for us on this topic? Anything that we might have missed that you think is important to share?

Q8: Where is the best place for someone to find your book? How can they reach you with any questions?

Thank you very much for taking the time out to speak with me today and share this new book. I’m excited to hear about the results it creates for students and teachers as well to follow this series. Best of luck and thanks for all you are doing for students and schools. I know it’s not easy to write a book with a busy schedule of working in at



[iii] Barnes and Noble

[iv] Amazon

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