“Dispositions to learning should be key performance indicators of the outcomes of schooling. Many teachers believe that, if achievement is enhanced, there is a ripple effect to these dispositions. However such a belief is not defensible. Such dispositions need planned interventions.” – John Hattie (2009), Visible Learning

Teaching non-cognitive skills (also known as life skills, soft-skills, dispositions, habits of mind) are just as important as teaching our students the cognitive skills. Non-cognitive skills are traits and skills that help students (really everyone) facilitate success in everyday life. Non-cognitive skills are attributes teachers strive to foster in students. These skills seldom stand alone and are even more important in this day of age where almost everything we do is working with others.

There are many non-cognitive skills such as the famous four C’s of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication but we need to go beyond just them and think about how learners need to also be reflective, adaptable and flexible as well.

3 Quick Strategies to Embed Non-Cognitive Skills into the Classroom:

1. Praise effort, not ability and have students reflect on their work.

2. Highlight skill and talk about it purposefully. This could be done in morning meeting, classroom meeting or part of a lesson. It could also be when you notice a student, character or someone famous doing an exemplar job at one of the skills you could make it apart of a discussion.

3. Have a Genius Hour, Makerspace and/or Experiential Learning area where students can explore and tinker.

More Books/Articles on Non-Cognitive Skills:

The Need to Address Non-Cognitive Skills in the Education

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