One of the reasons I have felt successful in life at times is because both of my parents told me growing up “that you can accomplish anything you want to.” Whether you were lucky enough to have had parents that instilled this in you or not, read on to see why and how you should instill HOPE in your children!
Dictionary.com defines hope as “the feeling that what is wanted can be had, or that events will turn out for the best.” Researchers have made many attempts to understand how hope plays into success and now they are finally finding some answers.
A growing (but still small) body of research is finding that students with high levels of hope get better grades and graduate at higher rates than those with lower levels, and that the presence of hope in a student is a better predictor of grades and class ranking than standardized test scores.
In one study at a Midwestern state college, graduation rates were 16 percent higher for hopeful students compared with less hopeful students. Hopeful Indiana law students had more success in school and higher LSAT scores than those with less hope. A study in Britain showed hope drives success more than personality, intelligence or prior academic success.
The real question many researchers have contemplated was whether or not it’s possible to enhance hope. According to their studies, some experts believe that hope can be learned. “Train a student to visualize his goals and see how he’ll achieve them, even when obstacles arise, and hope will follow.
“Universities across the country are testing the effectiveness of hope training. In California, researchers had Santa Clara University students participate in a 90-minute “intervention,” where they worked on goal-mapping, changing mindsets to hopeful thinking and visualization exercises. The study demonstrated that students who experienced the interventions were more likely to have made progress in goal achievement at the one-month follow-up than those who didn’t.
The lead researcher on the study, counseling psychology professor David Feldman, said schools could boost hope levels by hosting periodic workshops, creating hope-related websites and introducing hope to the classroom through instructor’s language. It can be difficult to shed the messages of hopelessness in our world with a troubled economy and the prevalence of people losing jobs and homes, he said. Educators have a “unique opportunity to inspire” and “give some of that hope back,” Feldman added.
At Chaffey College in California, the faculty is taking lessons in building and inspiring hope. Professors often misunderstand students’ behavior, assuming a general disinterest when students aren’t engaging in discussion. In reality students might simply be afraid of being wrong and educators need to learn to effectively offer advice, help and encouragement.
Robert Sternberg is a psychologist at Oklahoma State University, who said that educational institutions should focus on giving purpose during lessons, and providing meaning to studies, rather than just having students memorize facts. According to Sternberg, “Educators need to let students know that it’s possible to overcome challenges in learning and that with hard work, success is achievable.”
Because hope and self-esteem work together, if your student is struglling with a particular subject in school or struggling with staying motivated, how-to-study or organizational skills, being matched up with the right tutor can be a BIG help!