F.I.R.S.T: Principles of Discipline for 21st Century Skills

  • Hana KrskovaEmail author
  • Leigh N. Wood
  • Yvonne A. Breyer
  • Chris Baumann


In our digital 21st century, work demands a different set of skills than that of our industrial past. Educational institutions need to do more to help students both complete tertiary education and be ready for a future that will require continual learning. This chapter presents a case for improving non-cognitive skills, and particularly discipline, to achieve these and other goals. Discipline associated with learning often has negative connotations. However, discipline can also be thought of as a powerful tool for enhancing learning and higher achievement as well as overall personal development. Informed by the work of the 2000 winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, James Heckman, this chapter presents F.I.R.S.T.: five principles of discipline, namely focus, intention, responsibility, structure, and time. A set of corresponding strategies for helping students take control of their own learning, work readiness, and achievement is also presented.


Academic performance Achievement F.I.R.S.T. discipline Higher education Work readiness Completion rates Graduate employability Human capital 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hana Krskova
    • 1
    Email author
  • Leigh N. Wood
    • 2
  • Yvonne A. Breyer
    • 1
  • Chris Baumann
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Macquarie Business School, Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Macquarie Business School, Macquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Seoul National University (SNU)SeoulSouth Korea

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