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Enabling the Endeavoring: Hope’s Role in Education. Kevin L. Rand. Department of Psychology. Name the author…. Each life converges to some centre Expressed or still; Exists in every human nature A goal. Name the author…. Each life converges to some centre Expressed or still;

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Enabling the Endeavoring: Hope’s Role in Education

Kevin L. Rand

Department of Psychology

name the author
Name the author…

Each life converges to some centre

Expressed or still;

Exists in every human nature

A goal

name the author1
Name the author…

Each life converges to some centre

Expressed or still;

Exists in every human nature

A goal

-Emily Dickinson

my thanks to
My Thanks To…

•My colleagues in the Psychology Department

• My graduate students:

Amanda Shea Chloe Nicksic

Courtney Johnson Emily Rock

• The undergraduate students at IUPUI

overview where are we going
Overview: Where are we going?
  • What is hope?
  • How does hope influence learning?
  • What are the practical

implications of hopeful


research on hope
Research on Hope
  • Higher hope → increased effort at tasks
  • Higher hope → greater pain tolerance
  • Higher hope → superior athletic performance above and beyond athletic ability
  • Higher hope → better recovery from illness & injury
  • Higher hope → better mental health
snyder s 1994 hope theory
Snyder’s (1994) Hope Theory
  • Goals – the common thread to all purposive human behavior
  • Pathways – ‘Waypower’
  • Agency – ‘Willpower’
  • Emotions– information feedback about goal pursuit
    • Negative – blocked goal
    • Positive – progress or accomplishment

• Mental Target

• Some Probability of Reaching

• Short & Long Term

• Avoid vs. approach

• Hierarchical

hierarchical nature of goals
Hierarchical Nature of Goals

Abstract (“Be”)

Ideal Self

Be Healthy

Be Happy





Concrete (“Do”)


• Perceived Ability to Produce Plans

• Crucial When Encountering Blockages

• Most Preferred & Alternate Routes


• Mental Determination

• Self-talk: “I will do this…”

• Channeling of Mental Energy

to Appropriate Routes

• Source can be internal

and/or external

Adult Hope Scale


1= Definitely False 4= Slightly False 5= Slightly True 8= Definitely True

___ 1. I can think of many way to get out of a jam. P

___ 2. There are lots of ways around any problem. P

___ 3. I can think of many ways to get the things in life that

are important to me. P

___ 4. Even when others get discouraged, I know I can find a way to solve the problem. P

___ 5. I energetically pursue my goals. A

___ 6. My past experiences have prepared me well for my

future. A

___ 7. I’ve been pretty successful in life. A

___ 8. I meet the goals that I set for myself. A

hope scale data
Hope Scale Data
  • Average total score for adults is 48
    • High agency/pathways ≥ 26
    • Low agency/pathways ≤ 20
  • No gender differences
  • Some ethnic/racial differences
hope learning theory
Hope & Learning: Theory
  • Hope allows students to select, commit to, & work toward goals
  • Hope engenders positive emotions, which foster learning & perseverance
    • Broaden & build functions of positive emotions (Frederickson)
    • Reduction in debilitating effects of anxiety
hope learning research
Hope & Learning: Research
  • Higher hope → more engaged & less disengaged coping with academic stressors
    • Chang, 1998; Alexander & Onwuegbuzie, 2007
  • Higher hope → less test anxiety
    • Onwuegbuzie, 1998; Snyder, 1999
  • Higher hope → academic success above and beyond intelligence
    • Curry, Snyder, et al., 1997; Rand, in press; Snyder, Hoza, et al., 1997;
snyder et al 2002
Snyder et al. (2002)
  • 6-year prospective study of college students
  • Hope measured first-semester of freshman year
  • Higher-hope:
    • Higher overall GPA (controlling for ACT)
    • Lower dismissal rate
    • Higher graduation rate
rand in press
Rand (in press)
  • Semester-long prospective study of college students in psychology course
  • Hope, optimism, & grade expectations measured at beginning of semester
  • Higher-hope:
    • Higher grade expectations → higher final grade
    • Higher final grade (controlling for GPA)





Goal Attitude

Class Grade





Predicted Grade


rand martin shea 2008
Rand, Martin, & Shea (2008)
  • Semester-long prospective study of first-year law students
  • Hope & optimism measured at beginning of semester
  • Higher-hope:
    • Higher semester GPA (controlling for undergraduate GPA & LSAT)



Law School GPA





Life Satisfaction





Hopeful Education
  • Ideally, education is about more than becoming knowledgeable in a particular area
  • In some ways, “what” students learn is simply a vehicle to teach students “how” to get what they want in life – this is the instillation of hope
    • Drew Appleby’s concept of “Overt” vs. “Covert” curriculum
    • Mr. Miyagi & “Wax on, wax off.”
  • Practically applying Hope Theory facilitates bothspecific and general education goals
    • Goals, Pathways, Agency
hopeful goals
Hopeful Goals
  • Goals should be concrete & approach-oriented
  • Set stretch goals for students
  • Learning vs. performance goals
    • “Understand the 4 types of experimental validity”
    • “Get a 90% on my next psychology exam”
    • Ironically, learning goals improve performance
    • Avoid forced grade distributions
  • Make your “covert” curriculum goals explicit
    • Explicitly make the connection between learning goals and higher-order skills and mastery goals
goal clarification
Goal Clarification



Learning Goal

goal clarification1
Goal Clarification

Improve critical-thinking skills


Deepen your understanding of a published research study

fostering pathways thinking
Fostering Pathways Thinking
  • Be explicit about what behaviors will lead to success
    • Kevin’s 10 pathways to successful learning
    • “Generate 3 multiple-choice test questions”
    • “Give 3 examples from your life of phenomena discussed in lecture”
  • Offer multiple ways to success
    • Papers, tests, in-class activities
goal clarification2
Goal Clarification

Learning Goal



goal clarification3
Goal Clarification

Deepen your understanding of a published research study


Generate an alternative theory that explains the study findings

fostering agency class structure
Fostering Agency: Class Structure
  • Multiple methods of reinforcement
    • Offer more than just grades
    • Connect learning goals to other life domains
      • Give meaning to learning goals
    • Protects against habituation & burnout
  • Depersonalize grading system
    • It’s about their behaviors, not about them
    • Failure is simply information that they should try something different
fostering agency class style
Fostering Agency: Class Style
  • Exude Energy
    • Teach with enthusiasm & humor
    • Energy is contagious
    • Positive affect = better learning
  • Be a Storyteller
    • Humans are wired to learn & share stories
    • Organize lecture as a narrative; use jokes, anecdotes
  • Personalize the Class
    • Learn & use student names
    • Offer anecdotes from your own life
    • Talk about things that are relevant to college students
optimize your hope
Optimize Your Hope
  • Have a circumscribed set of goals for the class
    • Sometimes, less is more
  • Teach what excites you
    • Cover more of what you are interested in & less of what you are not interested in
  • Don’t assume responsibility for students’ goals
    • You can only lead the horses to water…
  • Reframe student failure for yourself
    • Failure, while unpleasant, is not inherently bad
thank you
Thank You
  • If you have questions about hope theory, please contact me:

Kevin Rand ([email protected])

Department of Psychology

LD 120E


goal clarification4
Goal Clarification






Higher-Order Goals

“Be” Goals

Improve your creativity and problem-solving skills that can be used to achieve goals in other domains of your life.

Become a more educated consumer of information and make better choices/decisions in getting the things you want.

Understand how to use the scientific method and logic to answer questions and gain information to help you navigate life.


Learning Goal: Deepen Your Understanding of a Published Research Study


Generate an alternative theory or hypothesis that would equally explain the findings of the study.

Assuming the results of the study (and the theory they support) are true, how would you apply this knowledge to your own life?

What questions do these results raise? Design a follow-up study to answer one or more of these questions.

Lower-Order Goals

“Do” Goals