F.I.R.S.T: principles of discipline for 21st century skills

Hana Krskova, Leigh N. Wood, Yvonne A. Breyer, Chris Baumann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndustry and higher education
Subtitle of host publicationcase studies for sustainable futures
EditorsLeigh Wood, Lay Peng Tan, Yvonne A. Breyer, Sally Hawse
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9789811508745
ISBN (Print)9789811508738
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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


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