Empower Tools for Advisory

Make Assignments and Relationships Meaningful

For ADVISORS, deans, counselors, psychologists, social workers, learning specialists, and student life program administrators

Do students see school as something done to them, as if it’s an assembly line and they’re the products? Can they learn to see school as something they’re actively doing, as if it’s a workshop and they’re artisans crafting their own lives, guided by their values? We define “values” as qualities of action that make life meaningful. As qualities of action, our values answer questions like, “How will I approach my life?” or “How will I choose to do this?”—or, in a student’s case, “How will I approach school?” “How will I choose to do this assignment?” “How will I choose to relate to my peers?”

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Contextual behavioral psychology helps people become more aware of their own values and then choose to do what matters—not what’s easiest or most fun, not what makes them look cool or sound smart, and not what relieves them from unpleasant feelings like anxiousness, embarrassment, frustration, or boredom. Informed by contextual behavioral research and practice, these “EMPOWER Tools” for advisory help students reimagine school as a set of opportunities to serve their values.

In this experiential workshop, participants will practice doing activities that empower students to learn, work, connect, and fail meaningfully. We’ll discuss ideas for how to follow up, create variations to match students’ needs and backgrounds, and address challenges that might arise.

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© Lauren Porosoff and Jonathan Weinstein, 2019