Relevant Across All Ages and Contexts
The SL Traits are meaningful and relevant to all learners and in all contexts. Compassion, Thinking, or being Strategic, for example, are relevant in soccer, art, or employment in any field. These traits are just as important to explicitly teach in kindergarten as they are throughout an entire education. The contexts in which the traits are applied will vary, become more sophisticated and complex, but the traits that enable individuals to apply themselves effectively, remain constant.
I remember how much truth I found in Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. This book became a bestseller when it came out in 1988, and I love how it playfully affirmed that the key lessons we learned as a five year old, are still very applicable to our adult lives. It is curious to me, why we stop explicitly teaching our students these important qualities. Do we assume for some reason that the critical life lessons taught in kindergarten are automatically downloaded, stored in our long-term data bases, then accessible whenever needed? The traits are pertinent to all learners at any stage in their life. Not only do we need to make explicit what ‘compassion’, ‘creativity’ or ‘thinking’ looks like for our kindergarten students, but unpacking these traits in contexts that apply to adult learners is just as essential.
The Successful Learner Traits are not only relevant across all ages, they apply to multiple contexts. What leads to success for pianist also applies to a professional athlete, a doctor, or an engineer? While the content of their chosen professions may differ, the qualities relied upon to achieve success are very similar if not the same. My personal belief is that there is a consistent ‘canon of success traits’ that actually apply to multiple disciplines. There are many popular psychology texts that indicate this consistent body of ‘success traits’ such as Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, or Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers – The Story of Success.