How educators can help their students build the skills of hope,
Here are five guidelines on How educators can help their students build the skills of hope
1) Identifying and prioritize their top goals
Talk to your students to create a “big picture” list of what’s important to them such as their academics, friends, family, sports, or career and then have them reflect on which areas are most important to them and how satisfied they are with each.
Have it in mind that those goals must be what the students want, not what their parents, teachers or schools want.
Otherwise, as studies suggest, they will quickly lose their interest and/or motivation, especially as they come up against obstacles.
Next, using this list, teach students how to create goals that are both specific and take a positive, solutions, oriented approach.
Their goals need to focus on accomplishing something in the future rather than avoiding something.
For instance, “I want to play on the Handball team” is a more effective, motivating goal than “I will stop drinking vodka.”
Finally, students should rank their goals in order of importance.
Researchers have found that this is particularly vital for students with little hope, as they often attempt any goal that comes to mind, which distracts their focus and energy from the goals that can have the greatest impact on their overall well being.
2) Breaking down the long-term goals into steps.
Research has suggested that students with low hope frequently think goals have to be accomplished all-at-once.
Possibly because they haven’t had the parental guidance on how to achieve goals in steps.
Teaching them how to see their goals as a series of steps will also give students reasons to celebrate their successes along the way, great way to keep motivation very high!
3) Let students know there’s more than one way to reach a goal.
Studies show that one of the greatest challenges for students with low hope is their inability to move past obstacles.
They often lack key problem-solving skills, causing them to abandon the quest for their goals.
So teaching them to visualize different paths to their goals will help them get beyond insurmountable barriers.
Perhaps most importantly, teachers need to make sure that students don’t equate those barriers with a lack of talent.
Instead, they need to be reminded that everyone faces obstacles.
Success usually requires creative ways to overcome these obstacles, not avoiding them altogether.
4) Give them stories of success.
Scientists have found that hopeful students draw on memories of other successes when they face an obstacle;
however, students with low hope often don’t have these kinds of memories.
That’s why it’s important for teachers to read books or share stories of other people especially kids who have overcome adversity to reach their goals.
5) Keep it light and positive.
It’s important to teach students to enjoy the process of attaining their goals, even to laugh at themselves when they face obstacles and make mistakes.
Above all, no self-pity! Research has found that students who use positive self-talk, rather than beating themselves up for mistakes, are more likely to reach their goals.
Helping our students cultivate hope might be one of the most important things we do for them.
Not only will it help them get more A’s in the short-run;
it’ll give them the confidence and creativity to reach their long-term goals in school and in life.