4 Skills and Traits Great Schools Teach

By George Couros

Most educators are aware of the “Four C’s” (Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication) and their importance in schools for ensuring the development of today’s skills in our students (I appreciate Will Richardson’s contention that “curiosity” should be the fifth “C” and is more important than the others).  But there are other essential skills and traits that many schools teach, either through learning in the classroom or by providing extra-curricular activities, which are not as widely acknowledged, but are extremely important.


From my experience being a part of schools and visiting, I have noticed that great schools teach these essentials that are timeless:

1. The Value of Hard Work.

Easily one of my favorite quotes is from Jim Valvano:

“Hard work is no guarantee of success but a lack of hard work is a guarantee that there will be no success.”

I have been very thoughtful to use the word “learning” instead of “work” in most cases, but deep learning is hard work. But success, no matter how a student defines it for themselves, is something that doesn’t come without a lack of determination and effort.  I have seen many people outside of education talk about students learning to be “entitled” within a school, but I believe that creating environments to ensure students have every opportunity to be successful is no more “entitled” than an employer doing things to put their employees in the best situations to be successful.nbsp;

LINK: con’t at The Principal of Change

When We All Teach Text Structures. Everyone Wins.

By Jennifer Gonzalez

It’s a given that we want our students to read well.

We want them to handle challenging material strategically, to comprehend all of its nuances clearly, to break it down and analyze it, and more than anything, to remember what they read.









Lately, the mandate to support student reading has been directed outside the English language arts classroom: Teachers of history, science, and other subjects are now expected to weave literacy instruction into their teaching of content. But how should they do that? What are the most effective ways to help students learn to read challenging content-area texts?

One way is to teach them text structures. This is different from text features — the headings, subheadings, and supporting visuals that writers use to highlight key points. A text structure is its overall organization: Common text structures are cause and effect, sequence, and compare/contrast. And research shows that when students are explicitly taught to identify text structures while they read, they understand the material better and retain more of it after reading (National Institute for Literacy, 2007).

This video shows you how to teach text structures:


LINK: Cult of Pedagogy