The positive skills of learning.
*This is not an exhaustive list.
Increasing each learner’s capacity in these skill areas improves the likelihood for overall success – where each student can learn productively, happily, collaboratively and feel rewarded. These skills are developed over time and benefit all learning areas. The intention is to establish these skills as routines, strengthening the habits that will allow a student to prosper, flourish and bloom.
By increasing capacity in these skill sets, we will ensure we personalise learning. This means we need to offer authentic and contextually-sensitive experiences. Educators need to promote opportunities for learners in order to promote their personal best. When reviewing these skills, we find them often described as “soft skills”. Interestingly, these skills are bedded throughout industry as requirements for success.
Focusing on this model, addresses the negative commentary that a student needs to ‘catch up‘, or that a student is ‘falling behind‘. In our professional careers – are we ever defined or labelled in such a way? The focus on the bloom highlights it doesn’t matter when we flower as long as we do blossom and enjoy success.
A key purpose of schooling is to develop positive habits of mind. Habits of mind are the routines needed to develop the capacities of every learner to be more thoughtful, successful and better equipped for increased performance.
This is empowerment and by outlining the key skills of successful people (such as Costa outlined in his Habits of Mind) there is an underlying belief that all learners have the potential for self-improvement.
The following selection of Skills tries to define critical routines necessary to maximise each learner’s capacity to improve their productivity and personal growth. This list is not comprehensive but every skill set is vital.
Building Positive Habits is Building Capacity
Instead of outcomes based on grades, we need to see capacity as something we can all work on to develop (which adheres to the research on neural-plasticity).
Skills that are focused on organisation, questioning, thinking, etc. are sometimes described as ‘soft skills’. The fact is they are powerful traits that lead to success across a wide range of fields – from technology to engineering.
The purposeful focus on developing these skills into habits establishes the routines necessary to be successful and feel fulfilled. We nurture their development but intentionally setting activities and experiences that enhance these skills – and as teachers we are responsible for identifying, defining and mentoring our students in these areas.