Gone are the days of measuring student success by the grades on their papers or the scores on their tests. Today, it's about being socially and emotionally intelligent.
In his book, "The Formative Five: Fostering Grit, Empathy, and Other Success Skills Every Student Needs," Tom Hoerr identifies five key skills every child should master in order to be a well-rounded and well-adjusted adult:
- Empathy: Learning to see the world though others perspectives.
- Self-control: Cultivating the abilities to focus and delay self-gratification.
- Integrity: Recognizing right from wrong and practicing ethical behavior.
- Embracing diversity: Recognizing and appreciating human differences.
- Grit: Persevering in the face of challenge.
Hoerr suggests that many schools have fallen into the trap of reducing student success to numbers and performance. In order to "prepare students to succeed well in life, not just do well in school," there needs to be a cultural shift, whereby grades are considered the floor, not the ceiling. To thrive, students need to develop attributes that aren't typically measured on standardized tests.
At Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child, we're constantly reinforcing “the formative five" success skills with our students throughout the year. Special assemblies are planned surrounding each theme, but the concepts are also woven throughout daily activities and the curriculum such that students are often unaware that social and emotional lessons are taking place. The skills are a natural component of the school's culture.
Grades are still used to measure certain aspects of performance, but we are increasing our emphasis on understanding and developing the five success skills. By actively engaging in activities that foster the "formative five," we are raising expectations for student learning and preparing them for life-long success.