What skills best promote lifelong learning and lifetime success?
James Heckman is Professor of Economics University of Chicago, Nobel Prize Winner and is regarded as an expert in economics of human development and human potential. Read more about Professor Heckman here.
The character skills that are crucial are summed up in Heckman’s acronym “Ocean”: openness (curiosity, willing to learn); consciousness (staying on task); extroversion (outgoing, friendly); agreeableness (helpful); neuroticism (attention to detail, persistence). These are the skills that enable children to learn; without them even the best teachers can do little. These are the skills that are predictive of outcomes such as educational achievement, obesity, offender rates, employment and smoking. The single biggest predictor of longevity and school achievement is conscientiousness – which is effectively a form of self-control.’
The Guardian. Friday 20 May 2011
Character is a skill, not a trait. At any age, character skills are stable across different tasks, but skills can change over the life cycle. Character is shaped by families, schools, and social environments. Skill development is a dynamic process, in which the early years lay the foundation for successful investment in later years.’
Heckman, J. & Kautz, T. November 2013. Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition. Introduction.
Skills enable people. They are capacities to function. Greater levels of skill foster social inclusion and promote economic and social mobility. They generate economic productivity and create social well-being. Skills give agency to people to shape their lives, to create new skills and to flourish.’
OECD. Nov. 2014. Fostering and Measuring Skills Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success. p 8.
Do you think character skills development is crucial to lifetime success?
Do you agree with Professor Heckman that the development of cognitive abilities is only one part of the education story? Do you think Professor Heckman's theory is too simplistic?
Renowned early childhood educator Dr Lilian Katz says that:
One of the most important goals of all education, at every level, is to support and strengthen the disposition to go on learning throughout life.’
She says it is important to make a distinction between intellectual goals and academic goals in learning. STEM in the Early Years
Do you think there is a difference between intellectual and academic skills?
We would love to hear what you think. Please post your thoughts in the comment box below.
Want to read more about this topic…
- Why character skills are crucial in early years education
- Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition
- Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success
- Why Children’s Dispositions Should Matter to All Teachers
Want to watch more ….