21st century skills

10 January 2019

This work examines how students’ character, habits, and mindset influence teaching-learning processes. Until recently character education was a matter of moral and civic education, but recent research into non-cognitive skills and social-emotional learning reflects how these personality traits give steadiness to school teaching-learning processes. Neuroscience here emphasises the value of executive functions: attention, inhibitory control, and planning are moments where the student unfolds her learning. Classical intelligence (IQ) focuses on analytical understanding, a specific moment; character intelligence focuses on the volitional processes that create the intellectual work that begins in the classroom and ends with planning of study at home. The first objective is to define non-cognitive skills, executive functions, and character, related frameworks that are present in school and family life. After this, the second objective is to assess how the social-family environment affects these processes. The third objective, in parallel with carrying out the study, is to propose tools to measure these strengths in elementary school: BFQ-N and BRIEF 2. If character education models for learning are proposed, tools should be offered to measure it intended to test the success of the programmes. The conclusion identifies a major initiative: universities, schools, and educational agents should think about a new integrated model of education for their students based on this convergence between character and classical intelligence. School failure and dropout have academic explanations but also family and personal ones. This complex and changing third millennium requires robust and flexible skills to face the challenges of a society that has still not shown us where it is going.


This is the English version of an article originally printed in Spanish in issue 272 of the revista española de pedagogía. For this reason, the abbreviation EV has been added to the page numbers. Please, cite this article as follows: De Bofarull, I. (2019). Carácter y hábitos para el aprendizaje: definición y proyecto de medición | Character and learning habits: definition and measurement proposal. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 77 (272), 47-65. doi: https://doi.org/10.22550/REP77-1-2019-03