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January 10, 2014 at 2:36 PM

Guest: How to inspire hope in today’s students

wenzel

Mark Wenzel

While the world seems to increasingly focus on the technical aspects of improved student learning — Common Core standards, teacher evaluations, and “grading” schools — a quieter group of educators, researchers and parents continues to discuss the emotional well-being of students as they go through the education system.

Keep in mind that when Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues developed their now-famous classification of higher learning in the 1950s, the affective domain (feeling/heart) represented a third of the model, along with the cognitive (knowing/head) and psychomotor (doing/hands) realms of learning.

No doubt that all three domains remain important. But as an educational leader, I see a lot of students missing the “hope” train. In fact, the Gallup organization reports that only half of American children are hopeful — that is, they believe their future will be better than their present and believe that they have the power to make that future a reality.

A wide range of research shows that hopeful feelings correlate positively with increased achievement. In fact, part of Gallup’s research found that hope boosts a student’s school achievement by 13 percent after controlling for other variables such as grades, IQ, and psychological status.

So why the lack of hope?

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