NonCognitive Needs That Promise Student Success

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The first time I read Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed (2013) I was a classroom teacher wanting the magic DUST that would help my students persevere through all the hard stuff. This book, instead,  set me on a personal mission to address student’s social and emotional needs in my very own classroom. I wanted my students to look at failures and setbacks as an opportunity to grow, learn and overcome.

As I reread this book my mindset is that of an instructional coach with the purpose of trying to address school culture and climate. I can see now that the key to student success- the key to a school’s success goes beyond test outcomes, but the school’s ability to provide every student with the non-cognitive qualities that will set every student up for success in whatever future they decide.

The campus must have a common goal; What skills do you believe students need to be successful?



responsible decision making

Relationship skills

Social Awareness

One of the best ways I know that can help introduce these social and emotional skills is through books.  Just by focusing on the universal theme (the lesson learned) in each of these trade books the classroom teacher is provided with opportunities for…

IMG_0471classroom discussions– builds thoughtful world citizens and thinkers

introductions to Social Stories, which can help students think through and problem solve issues BEFORE they occur or occur IMG_0472AGAIN. – Educating Everyone 4 Life is a great person to follow on Pinterest if you are wanting materials for this

goal setting opportunities– studies have shown that setting goals increases pride, motivation and success- Joy2you is someone to follow on Pinterest that can help set you up for goal setting conferences/materials

Here are just a few (there are so many more out there) of the books I suggest every classroom library has if you want your students to SUCCEED beyond your classroom. 

These are not cognitive skills that are assessed at the end of every school year on the standardized tests, but these are the skills that give every classroom teacher (and parent) the chills.  These are the skills that make every teacher, campus, and parent proud.  At the end of the day, these are the skills that will make the biggest impact in our future.

If we want out students to be successful, to be competitive in their college careers or in our society, we MUST pay attention to their social and emotional learning- or we will continue down a path where when the going gets tough, we quit. 

Categories Teaching

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