Steph Jensen, MS, LPC - Boys Town National Training
The education world has witnessed major changes over the last decade. At times, parents, educators, counselors and even students can feel caught in hurricane-force winds of the swirling change around them. It is when we discover that we have the power to harness the “winds of change” that we come together and move forward to our ultimate goal of providing successful and authentic learning experiences for all students. Here are a few suggestions to harness change and power the future:
Courage: Courage is defined as feeling afraid but choosing to act. As educators, parents, mentors, counselors we have all experienced the fear of facing challenging situations with the youth we serve. We must have the courage to connect with kids in authentic ways. Building relationships with kids requires us to look beyond attitudes and behaviors and focus on the spirit within. Use the ideas in our blog post, 5 Strategies to Build Healthier Classroom Relationship.
Hope: It’s been said that a person can live 40 days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, but only four seconds without hope. Hope fuels the power that energizes an individual to conceptualize goals, persevere despite obstacles and motivates us to explore alternate pathways to pursue our dreams. High-hope students typically are more optimistic, develop many life goals, and perceive themselves as being capable of solving problems that may arise (Snyder, Hoza, et al., 1997).
Adventure: Kids are designed to seek adventure. The act of exploring helps shape the brain and adventuring increases memory. Finding ways to create adventure through experiential learning activities in the home, classroom or counseling office improves memory, comprehension and behavior. When learning is an adventure, children grow, stretch themselves and take risks. They begin to feel empowered to try to accomplish more. We can aspire to inspire meaningful learning by bringing adventure into our learning environments.
Navigate: Engage kids in exploring individual skills and strengths to connect them to career options early, and navigate their studies to align with their interests. When students understand how education is related to their career interests, combined with a plan to achieve potential occupational aspirations, they are more engaged learners. Help kids chart a course for career goals and navigate their path for success.
Goals: Setting and achieving goals is a universal motivator. Invite kids to write short- and long-term goals and post them somewhere they can review them regularly. This will serve as a reminder of what they are working toward and help them stay motivated and on track. When goals slip from sight and lose importance, motivation and success begin to deteriorate. Help inspire kids to become self-motivated with the GRIT & Bear It! Activity Guide from Boys Town Press.
Encourage: It is no coincidence that we started with courage and end with encourage. It takes courage to embrace the power of using encouragement rather than punishment; but if we hope to harness the power of change we must increase our use of encouragement with all kids. The more intentional we are in encouraging our students to excel and adopt healthy practices the more effective we will be in developing healthy young adults.
Used together, these 6 tools will empower you to weather the storms of change and harness the power to inspire. Be the C.H.A.N.G.E. (Courage, Hope, Adventure, Navigate, Goals, Encourage)!