What is the role of character "strengths" such as persistence, self-control, resilience, optimism in academic (and life) success? can they be taught? how?
This article by Paul Tough in the New York Times gives a good overview of evidence and educator's experiences on this topic, right at the core of what education means.
"[...] the students who persisted in college were not necessarily the ones who had excelled academically at KIPP; they were the ones with exceptional character strengths, like optimism and persistence and social intelligence. They were the ones who were able to recover from a bad grade and resolve to do better next time; to bounce back from a fight with their parents; to resist the urge to go out to the movies and stay home and study instead; to persuade professors to give them extra help after class. "
You can also listen to an American RadioWorks podcast about this topic here.
As a grad student, I am sure you know very well what they are talking about. ...how does creativity enters the picture?