Tuesday, 20 January 2015


The last two years, working in Sheffield on the Cutlers' Made in Sheffield programme, has helped me to better understand that developing better learners and better workers requires us to pay attention to students’ mindsets, skills, strategies, and behaviours as well as their content knowledge and academic skills. Interestingly, this approach is supported by something I have been reading...
'Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners' is a critical literature review of the role of non-cognitive factors in shaping school performance. The review finds that strong academic behaviours and academic perseverance are the non-cognitive outcomes that teachers want to achieve in developing their students as learners and that these are the non-cognitive factors most directly associated with good grades.

The review stresses that it is hard to change academic behaviors and academic perseverance directly without addressing academic mindsets and effective learning strategies and that trying to directly change behaviours and perseverance is not the best lever for improving students’ academic performance. The critical levers for improving student grades seem to be through the development of academic mindsets and learning strategies. Academic mindsets strongly influence the degree to which students engage in academic behaviours, persevere at difficult tasks, and employ available learning strategies. And the use of appropriate learning strategies strongly influences the quality and effectiveness of academic behaviours and helps students stick with a task and persevere despite obstacles. Thus, building students’ academic mindsets and teaching them appropriate learning strategies are the best ways to improve academic behaviours and perseverance, which leads to better grades.

1 comment:

  1. Great that you have found (and read!) this important review - and seen it important to pass on. Your summary says it well, but there is an extra feature which is important: these "non-cognitive" elements are particularly important for disadvantaged students. As England now has one of the most divisive education systems in the world, it's extra important. And do have a look at some Sheffield 10-year olds talking about this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rL33mK8ksg


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