Friday, November 16, 2012

A Model for Student Ownership

Over the past few months, I have been providing "thrivapy" to a small number of individual students who find themselves in a rut.  Fully capable, these students simply need some clarity and guidance to rediscover and embrace their "better version of themselves."

"Thrivapy" is a term I created to describe the process by which I support, guide, and advise people towards a higher level of satisfaction and success in their work.  Thrivapy is grounded in the understanding of the roles goal setting, habit formation, growth mindset, personal empowerment, and personal presentation play in realizing higher levels of success and satisfaction.

One particular challenge was with helping with exam preparations, but the model I used can be applied to almost any situation.  It involved 3 basic steps with the outcome being a better understanding of one's current challenges AND a clearer vision of what the next BETTER version of oneself looks like.

Here is a visual I created to show the process.  Below is a description of each step.

Set expectations and take action

Step one is to form realistic, yet challenging, expectations for your work/results.  These expectations should be based on your own experiences and can vary from course to course.  For example, if math is presenting a much harder challenge than history, expectations for history may be greater than those in math.  Be realistic, but set expectations that will stretch you do better - not just your best.

In addition, this step requires one to take action.  If you are working on exam preparations, taking action may be taking the exams.  If you are practicing for an upcoming game, playing the game is the action.


Once the action has been taken and the results are known, then next step is to reflect on those results and see if you met your expectations.  You may find yourself falling into the "I should have..." trap.  My advice is to replace the "should have" statement with a "next time" statement.  "Should have" pushes you closer to a fixed mindset and can get you stuck in a vicious circle of doubt.  "Next time" statements are growth oriented and provide a road map for future success.

Expectations met

Congratulations!  If you met your expectations, you should be proud and celebrate.  Your plan and preparation for the action taken seemed to work.  Make a note of what you did to prepare and refer back to it in the future.

Expectations NOT met

If you didn't meet your expectations, don't fixate on the outcome.  Instead, remember you are capable of achieving those goals, but may need to revise your plan.  Remember the reflection step - think in terms of "next time."

If we continue with the exam example, a conversation between student and teacher may be in order to go over the exam and identify specific areas of difficulty.  Once you know the "get better" opportunities  compare those to how you prepared.  Maybe you spent too much time on items you understood and not enough time on the ones with which you need help.  Adjust your plan as dictated by your findings.

"After the model"

The model ends with the adjustment exercise, but whenever you work from a "get better" mindset, there is no end game.  Therefore, with new found confidence, set your eyes forward and begin the vision exercise again:

  • If there were no roadblocks to success, what does the successful/better version of myself look like?
  • What are those roadblocks?
  • What can I do to overcome those roadblocks and work towards realizing my "next better me?"

Additional notes:
As I stated near the beginning of this post, I have been offering thrivapy to a few students over the past few weeks/months.  If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you may also recall that I am working on my next book, titled Thrivapy, which goes into more detail about my thrivapy system.

If you are interested in learning more about thrivapy for yourself, fellow teachers, or your students and families, feel free to contact me.  I am happy to set up a time to have conversations about the foundations of thrivapy and how it can help increase the chances of success and satisfaction.

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