Expanding Vision to Find Purpose

imagesMy old head of school that has gone back to school, tweeted at me today with an intriguing question: “What are ur go-to sources (books, tests, etc.) 4 helping students expand their vision & find purpose?”

I don’t think I’m quite condensed enough in my thoughts to be able to respond in a single tweet, so I thought I would blog about it.

My initial thought is that the source is face-to-face communication to form personal connections and relationships.

Often times students already have passions and they just need help to see how that passion can have a greater purpose. In my experience students benefit more from 1 on 1 conversations with a mentor or even conversations in a small group, than they ever do from taking some online survey for example. Sometimes just giving ideas about bigger goals can help trigger motivation in a student.

Even books about team work, design, or goal setting (just to give some examples, any book you want you fit this gap) are only beneficial to a person if you are able to connect with their meaning and interpret what they are trying to say.

In ID we occasionally look at excerpts from books to help us when we are at a “stuck point”, but I think the meaningful part isn’t just reading the text, but it is when we discuss the text as a group afterwards. (This actually happened today even when we read an excerpt from Linchpin.) 

I’ve also noticed that a lot of ID members have really developed their vision after a close examination of the connects between different passions. For myself, I realized how story telling (blogging and acting), student voice (being involved in meetings and opportunities for students at school), space (I’ve had various “bug” items about wasted space and then there is the iStudio space redesign), and coaching/participating in sports with various age groups are all connected by the overarching concept of “creating an innovative culture” that I have been describing as my big goal.

To go back to that idea of face-to-face communication, things matter so much more when you know that someone else cares about the work you are doing. As a mentor, sometimes you just need to help make those connections at first until a student gets comfortable with making them on their own.

Back in the fall ID went to the CDC early on in the year before many of us really knew what was going on or what we were interested in or had any clue about our iVentures were/would become. However, after that experience we all took notice of how adults, outside of our everyday school teachers, were responding to our leadership skills and took genuine interest in our thoughts and ideas. This was a big turning point for a lot of us as far as how we viewed ourselves as more than just high school students. It was also a great spark of energy that helped some people in determining things they were interested in. Often times experience is the key to passion and goal finding.

The more I think about it, the more I have to say that it is dependent on every individual. Everyone has their own tool preferences and their own ways of thinking, so the best way to help students find their vision as a mentor is to understand an individual and how they learn and make discoveries to then help accordingly to how they respond.

I hope this answers your question!

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