Currently writing a book with Dr. Herb Broda (Professor of Education) and Trevor Dunlap (Executive Director of Nuhop) on the development of non-cognitive skills in middle and high school classrooms. See our short abstract below:

It just makes sense; a student who is conscientious, curious and persistent is much more likely to do well academically than a student who does not have these characteristics. Although non-cognitive skills are difficult to measure, and often are eclipsed by testing pressures, there is a growing body of research that clearly shows that students with a strong non-cognitive skill base will also achieve better academically. Increasingly, educational researchers and psychologists are verifying what good teachers have known for years–academic and non-academic skills are not mutually exclusive.

Helping students to see each other as resources and to see themselves as a part of the greater whole are the cornerstones of innovative and thriving classrooms – both academically and socially. Key non-cognitive skills such as those highlighted in Paul Tough’s recent book How Children Succeed – grit, curiosity, perseverance, conscientiousness, self-regulation, and optimism – are known to have the greatest correlation to academic achievement. Moreover, these are lifelong skills that benefit students well beyond their schooling years regardless of their college or career path, helping students not just to succeed, but to thrive.

This book is the first of its kind to focus on non-cognitive skills to create an effectively functioning classroom environment that also fosters academic success. Despite their known importance, these non-cognitive skills rarely find their way into the traditional school curriculum for a number of reasons. First, teachers are pressured to target purely academic skillsets for success in a standardized accountability system. Second, many teachers lack any training in the development and application of non-cognitive experiences. And finally, educators have difficulty defining the time and space in their day/class periods to reinforce non-cognitive work.

In this book, teachers will find practical and easily integrated exercises to construct highly engaging experiences focused on developing important non-cognitive skills. Drawing on decades of experiential and adventure-based research and methodology, educators will be able to bolster academic success by nurturing the grit, curiosity, perseverance, conscientiousness, self-regulation, and optimism of their students through a progression of activities that are designed and paced to optimize the development of non-cognitive skills. Practicing teachers will share their insights and approaches for defining the time and space needed to reinforce non-cognitive work. Carefully planned reflection questions are included at the end of each activity to focus attention on the non-cognitive skills that are being nurtured. For each activity, possible curriculum connections are included.