We host science fairs, art shows, school plays, soccer championships, yet how often do we cast a wider net and simply ask our students to tell us about a time they felt successful? How many shapes can success take? Schools can provide the time and space for students to speak about their successes, amplifying stories that can inspire and foster connection within the school community.
A platform of success-sharing provides students with an opportunity to receive positive attention and can help other students see their peers from a different perspective. Students may choose to share personal stories focused on their academic journey as well as stories about overcoming struggles outside of school. This type of sharing helps students to recognize that they have more in common than they know, and strengthens the school community as a place of acceptance.
Any school can host an event where students can share in this way, whether it is an internal, ongoing exhibit where stories are displayed as an art show, or a larger community event where students can share through any medium: a TEDTalk-esque presentation, a visual display, a recording… even a narrated dance!
Former students can be invited back to school to share their stories of challenges and successes. These stories might come from 8th graders returning to their elementary schools to inspire 5th or 6th graders who have fears and concerns about transitioning to a new learning environment. High school graduates can also tell stories of overcoming the real-world challenges they have faced. Hearing from a diverse body of students helps widen the definition of success, going beyond tangible “wins” like scholarships, job offers, and championships to incorporating the more nuanced note of personal achievement.
Teachers can share success stories on behalf of their classes and individual students. NWEA provides a platform for educators to share stories of personal and student growth on the See How They Grow website. Educators can submit their stories for inclusion on the site, as well as tag social media posts with #seehowtheygrow.
Does your school organize events where students can present their stories of success and growth? Share your experiences in the comments field below.