Hope is essential to students’ academic progress and has been linked with a 12% bump in student achievement (Lopez, 2013). The Hope Map is an intervention developed by Dr. Shane Lopez that helps students plan out how to achieve goals and overcome obstacles to success (Lopez, 2013; McQuaid, n.d.). In this activity students begin with writing down a goal they want to achieve, what they need to do to accomplish the goal, as well as any potential obstacles that need to be overcome. This activity is similar to the WOOP goal setting method created by Dr. Gabriele Oettingen(2014), which stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, and plan. These goal setting methods have been shown to strengthen motivation and resilience in overcoming setbacks in the pursuit of accomplishing one’s goals (Oettingen & Reininger, 2016).
||Upper elementary- 12th
||Paper, writing utensil
||20-30 minutes, repeat as needed
1. Give each student a piece of paper and have them fold the paper into three vertical sections.
2. Instruct them to write down a goal they want to achieve (this week, month, year, etc.) on the far-right third of the page.
3. Then, have them write pathways they could take to achieve that goal on the far-left side. Pathways include tasks that must be done to achieve the goal.
4. Finally, have the students write down obstacles that must be overcome to each pathway in the center section.
5. Have students reflect on how to overcome those obstacles and discuss what might be holding them back.
Does it work?
Researchers in Portugal implemented a 5 week hope intervention program with 367 5th graders (Marques S., J. Lopez S., & Pais-Ribeiro J., 2011). The intervention group met for 60 minutes once a week for five weeks. During this time, researchers intended to help students: set goals, identify pathways to their goals, build the required emotional capacity to be successful, and reframe outcropping challenges within their locus of control through a strengths based approach to goal setting. Students were introduced to the hope theory which states that ”hope is defined as a cognitive set that is based on a reciprocally derived sense of successful (a) agency (goal-directed determination) and (b) pathways (planning of ways to meet goals)” (Snyder et al., 1991, pp. 570-571). Thus, Snyder’s hope theory views hope as a cognitive thinking process rather than an emotional experience (although positive emotions have been known to be associated with hopeful thinking). After discussing and applying this theory to their lives and goals, students self-reported significant increases in hope, life satisfaction, and self-worth (Marques S., J. Lopez S., & Pais-Ribeiro J., 2011).
Another intervention used Snyder’s hope theory in conjunction with life coaching and principles of cognitive hardiness to improve the wellbeing of 56 female high school seniors in Australia. Cognitive hardiness is an “individual’s commitment to their life goals, a sense of control or belief that they can control life events, and a perception of change as a challenge” (Green, Grant, & Rynsaardt, 2007, p.25, emphasis in original). Each session invited the students to choose 1 personal and 1 school-related issue they wished to be coached on. The remaining weeks were spent setting goals, identifying personal resources that could help them reach their goal, developing action steps, and evaluating their progress. Consequently, students self-reported significant increases in hope , cognitive hardiness, and significant decreases in depression levels (Green, Grant, & Rynsaardt, 2007).
Green, S., Grant, A., & Rynsaardt, J. (2007). Evidence-based life coaching for senior high school students: Building hardiness and hope. International Coaching Psychology Review, 2, 1st ser., 24-32.
Lopez, S. J. (2013). Making hope happen: Create the future you want for yourself and others. Atria Books.
Marques S., J. Lopez S., & Pais-Ribeiro J. (2011). “Building Hope for the Future”: A Program to Foster Strengths in Middle-School Students. Journal of Happiness Studies, 12. 139-152. 10.1007/s10902-009-9180-3.
Mcquaid, M. (n.d.). Can you turn hope into reality? https://www.michellemcquaid.com/hope/
Oettingen, G. (2014). Rethinking positive thinking: Inside the new science of motivation. Penguin Publishing Group.
Oettingen, G. & Reininger, K.M. (2016). The power of prospection: mental contrasting and behavior change. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10(11), 591-604.
Snyder, C. R., Harris, C., Anderson, J. R., Holleran, S. A., Irving, L. M., Sigmon, S. T., et al. (1991). The will and the ways: Development and validation of an individual-differences measure of hope. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 570–585.