Non-cognitive skills and student motivation, the school’s key role

We live more and more in a complex world in constant change, which requires special skills to be able to “orient” and know how to live it as an opportunity and not a problem.

Global competencies

That is why it is important that we work for young people to work immediately on the growth of the defined “global competenceThat is, the development of all aspects of the personality including the socio-emotional ones that provide self-confidence and the ability to quickly adapt to fluid contexts.


The world of work after the pandemic has changed enormously, it has created a new context that has introduced the use of hybrid work (smartworking and presence, but with renewed environments) and a new approach to work that brings above all 40-50 years old to the mass layoffs because they no longer see the realization of their existence at work.

The shutdown has essentially rediscovered old values ​​that the chaos of the pre-pandemic rhythms had made us forget.

The character skills

To “character skills “(literally the character’s skills) we mean skills. the mental dispositions that directly involve the worker’s personality not only affect the cognitive sphere, but affect his character and the way he approaches the work and helps to perform a specific task.

It is based on the assumption that a wide range of skills are now required to succeed in professional life: in fact, there is no longer room for an evaluation of employees regardless of their character, their personality and everything related to their emotional sphere and how it relates to their work.

Grade skills, as reported by the “Morning Future” portal in a recent and interesting article, are studied through self-evaluation and observation tests commonly used in psychology, with the aim of making them measurable indicators, like many others in the world of today’s work. The assumption of these studies is that the cognitive and non-cognitive aspects are not separate, but constituents of each person’s indivisible and unique profile. (source Almalaboris)

The topic of grade skills was recently the subject of debate at a conference at the University of Urbino, where the Rector reiterated “how important it is that today’s students and tomorrow’s professionals not only have technical knowledge, but are able to interact with others and the surrounding environment. “

The role of the school

The world of the school is facing a fundamental challenge, “become the protagonist in pedagogical and pedagogical change“. Only the combination of non-cognitive and cognitive skills can enable children to face the enormous challenges that the world presents to us. A challenge that allows children to improve their ability to adapt continuously to social and technological change.

The experimentation of these new skills will have to take place in the Italian school from infancy. Moreover, these new skills have a positive impact on the prevention of deviant behavior: upbringing to emotionality and relationships at a time when violence has become part of our daily lives.

The Heckman studies

The first to understand the importance of NCS was the Nobel Prize in Economics James Heckman in the late 90s. His studies have actually shown how they affect learning and work ability: they can change significantly over time and places. In addition, he verified on groups of students with the same cognitive abilities how dropouts primarily depend on the non-cognitive aspects of the personality.

For the American researcher, NCS (No cognitive skills) innate personality traits are formed by the interaction with the environment that requires learning and working skills, and actually become part of Grade of people. His research has shown that their development increases productivity at work: especially in a world where knowledge is rapidly becoming obsolete, they give the individual this ability to “learn to learn“Which is crucial in order not to be excluded.

Despite all the empirical evidence and methodological contributions showing the importance of these new skills without transformed school places to develop students’ personalities, the Italian school and our young people will not be able to take the leap in quality that is necessary today and which requires. the world of work.

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