Resources to EMPOWER
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EMPOWER Your Students
on the Solution Tree website.
Exploration

Becoming Curious about Their Values

Students are bombarded with messages about what’s “important”—from teachers, family, friends, work, local and world events, music, TV, social media, and their own bodies. These activities help students explore what matters to them so they can make values-informed decisions about how they spend their time.

Motivation

Making Their Values the Reason for Doing Their Schoolwork

Rather than trying to motivate our students by telling them what might happen if they do or don’t complete their assignments, we can help each of them clarify what a “meaningful life” is and ask, “How does doing this assignment contribute to that kind of life?”

Participation

Creating Opportunities to Enact Their Values at School

Students don’t have to wait for an adult to give them instructions in order to make school meaningful. These activities help students think of values-consistent behaviors they can try at school, so they can begin to see school as a set of opportunities for them to build meaningful lives.

Resource: Values-Guided Behavior Brainstorm Worksheet

Openness

Sharing Their Genuine Values

Learning involves false starts, misconceptions, assumptions that turn out to be incorrect, and saying things that make no sense. These activities create contexts in which students can be vulnerable so they can learn and grow in ways that matter to them, and so they can create a kind, nurturing, and courageous community.

Willingness

Serving Their Values Even When It’s Hard

Nothing feels good all of the time. What struggles are worthwhile? In these activities, students learn to increase their willingness to experience thoughts and feelings that might not feel pleasant but that go along with values-consistent action.

Empathy

Treating Each Other According to Their Values

Students learn how to be nice, polite, and politically correct—without confronting their real thoughts and feelings, understanding one another, or deciding how they want to treat each other. These activities help them discover kindness and understanding within themselves.

Resource: Sentence Building

Resilience

Treating Themselves According to Their Values

Students don’t always learn how to confront their disappointments, failures, and difficult choices—or how to treat themselves in those moments. These activities help students learn self-kindness and persist because it serves their values.

Resource: Failure Clothesline

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© Lauren Porosoff and Jonathan Weinstein, 2019