From the Paul Tough excerpt I mentioned earlier:
Unlike reading and math skills, though, they aren’t primarily developed through deliberate practice and explicit training. Instead, researchers have found, they are mostly shaped by children’s daily experience of their environment. And they have their roots in the first few years of life. When children spend their early years in communities and homes where life is unstable and chaotic — which is true of a disproportionate number of children growing up in poverty — the intense and chronic stress they often experience as a result can seriously disrupt, on a neurobiological level, their development of these important capacities.
The excerpt also explores how non-academic professionl development for teachers can go a long way. Paul gets it. There’s a substantive area of non-cognitive skills that are instilled in a student by people and circumstances that are out of a teacher’s control, and often times, knowledge. But, with unique, innovative PD that takes the whole student into consideration, teachers can start to work with students to overcome counterproductive characteristics.
To read the full excerpt from Helping Children Succeed, see this NYT link.