I believe what really matters is to first help learners develop "noncognitive skills" such as curiosity, self-control, persistence.

Photo of Angelo Truglio
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I started learning to play the clarinet in 9th grade, without any prior musical experience.  I attended a Catholic elementary school. grades K-8 that did not provide any music instruction.  My parents and family members were not musical.  I did not have any friends who played an instrument.  I began failing at playing the clarinet, an instrument that I had never seen until it was handed to me at my first lesson.

What shaped my decision-making - to persist,  to practice more and more, even while my friends were outside playing ball,  to continue forging on thru squeaks, wrong notes and awful renditions? 

I had a music teacher, who cared as much about me as a person as he did about me as a clarinet player in the school band.  My interest, curiosity and initial efforts were met with encouragement, humor, praise and constant challenges.  I succeeded at one small tune, exercise, and performance at a time and a belief that I could succeed took hold.  Seeds for character traits such as perseverance, focus, self-control, conscientiousness, grit and self-efficacy were planted and nourished.  Eventually they were manifested thru my music and other challenges that I faced throughout my life.

Glad to see this Teachers Guild Character Learning Design Sprint.  In light of all that is happening in our world today I cannot think of a more relevant, timely and needed focus.  I believe that what really matters in our schools is to first help learners develop "non-cognitive skills" such as persistence, self-control, curiosity and conscientiousness.  What might happen if more time and opportunities were provided to address a learner's specific curiosities;  to foster their meta-cognition - the foundation for helping themselves drive their learning, which in turn enables them to build character traits essential for success?

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Photo of Paula Marra

Hi Angelo,
I agree with you this is a timely sprint! I also agree that teaching non-cognitive skills is a must! Grit, resilience, persistence......lifelong skills. We need to offer as many opportunities for our students to acquire them in hope of a better and more understanding world. Great to see you here!