There is a growing body of research that suggest that young people's development of non-academic skills are critical to their academic achievement and success. In fact, there is good evidence that the acquisition of these skills are better predictors of academic achievement and life success than standardized test scores. These skills are referred to as social-emotional competencies and non-cognitive skills. We believe that afterschool and summer programs are well-positioned to develop these skills and educate stakeholders as to their importance. It is important to note that having an impact on youth outcomes requires strong program design and consistent implementation.
TheLearning in Afterschool & Summer project will use the upcomingHow Kids Learn IIconference and several future blogs to highlight these important skills. At the conference, we will hear from Dr. Daniel Goleman (via video), Founder of Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and the author of Emotional Intelligence. The conference will also feature a presentation by Jenny Nagaoka, University of Chicago, on the role of non-cognitive skills in adolescence. We expect that we will also hear about the importance of these skills from presenter, Dr. Pedro Noguera from NYU.
A future blog will focus on the Responsive Classroom approach - a way of teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. In addition, future blogs will feature interviews with Joseph Durlak and Paul Tough. Dr. Durlak is known for his meta-analysis studies of the impact of in-school and afterschool programs that worked to promote social-emotional learning and key features of implementation that are required for impacting youth outcomes. Paul Tough is a writer whose articles and books examine the importance of non-cognitive skills. His latest book, How Children Succeed, is having a major impact in the fields of education and youth development. Practitioners can find more articles on social-emotional learning and activities that promote these competencies on the Edutopia website.