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Don’t Forget the Table

By Dave Stuart Jr.

If learning is a feast, then noncognitive factors are the table. This is reflected in the Foundations Framework that I use in my own classroom and in the professional development workshops I've led around the country. (See Figure 1, below.)

Figure 1: The Foundations Framework. See how the Noncognitive Factors sit beneath all the rest. They are the table upon which the feast sits. (Thank you to my colleague Erica Beaton for coming up with the table analogy.)

The literature on noncognitive factors can be pretty overwhelming. Having read a fair amount of it, I focus on just these three things:

Teachers who attend to these three things create leverage for their lessons. Not that I would know this from personal experience or anything, but it's possible to be an average instructor and to still yield above-par results if kids view you as credible and if you strive to equip them with academic mindsets and learning strategies. With these in place, the table is set each day for learning that moves kids forward in their knowledge and skill.

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