Cambridge Assessment research underpins Tristram Hunt on character and resilience

Resilience, self-control, character - attributes that children acquire naturally or should they be taught in schools?

According to a report in The Independent, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt believes that so-called ‘soft skills’ can and should be learned by children in the classroom.

It’s a view that’s underpinned by research from Cambridge Assessment, published in the journal Educational Studies. Cambridge researchers found that some aspects of emotional intelligence such as self-motivation can lead to higher attainment at GCSE. 

Our researchers concluded: “emotional intelligence has a very important effect on learning. Therefore, attempts to improve the emotional and social skills of British schoolchildren with training programmes could be worthwhile”.

Cambridge Assessment also held a key debate on this subject in 2009, publishing two conference papers.

Mr Hunt is quoted in The Independent as saying: “Of course, it’s important that we concentrate on improving literacy and numeracy, but the point is that you can improve your chances of success if you look to a child’s emotional well-being as well”. 

“These are very hard-edged skills young people need to gain. The teaching of resilience and self-control and character is more and more important to develop.” 

Full details of the Cambridge Assessment research are available here.

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