Character skills are malleable traits, traits that can be taught, developed and improved. Leslie Gutman, PhD of the London-based, Institute of Education, reports that self-efficacy, an individual's belief that they have the ability to successfully complete tasks and reach goals, is both highly malleable and essential to character skill development (Gutman & Schoon, 2013).
A Report entitled, "Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century" published in draft from by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology (2013), provides a comprehensive review of models and learning environments to promote character skills described as "grit, tenacity and perseverance." The report finds that, "While the consensus across the literature review and interviews is that there is still a need for empirical evidence that grit, tenacity and perseverance can be taught as transferrable competencies, there is a wide range of programs and approaches that are already showing promise and positive results in this area ....." (U.S., Department of Education, 2013).
Referring to non-cognitive skills, James Heckman, PhD, writes, "such skills enable people to shape their lives in the present in order to create skills for the future (Heckman & Kautz, 2013).
Gutman, L. M. & School, I. (2013). The impact of non-cognitive skills on outcomes for young people. The London: Institute of Education. Retrieved from http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/uploads/pdf/Non-cognitive_skills_literature_review.pdf.
Heckman, James J., and Tim Kautz. "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Interventions That Improve Character and Cognition." National Bureau of Economic Research, 2013.
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, "Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century", 2013.