The “Soft Stuff”: What schools can do

October 31, 2012

Even in high school, teachers can help students develop the beliefs and habits that are needed for learning, says researcher Camille Farrington.

Farrington, lead author of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research report "Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners," says that high schools must shift from trying to raise test scores to get students into college, to developing the skills students will need to persevere in college. Farrington spoke Tuesday at the concluding forum in the 2012 Chicago School Policy Forum Series, "Sweating the Soft Stuff: What Schools Can Do."

She outlined five areas where schools can make a difference in student success: developing academic perseverance, academic behaviors, academic mindsets, learning strategies, and social skills.

Respondents were Liz Dozier, principal of  Fenger High School Principal (a Turnaround School); Sean Stalling, chief of schools, South Side High School Network, and Mary Ann Pitcher, co-director of the Network for College Success.

The annual forum series is organized by Business and Professional People for the Public Interest and Catalyst Chicago.