Help Them to Have a Purpose
Students today may be high achievers but they have no idea what for. This sense of meaninglessness is one of the main contributors to the skyrocketing suicide and depression rates amongst our youth. One sample statistic: the American College Health Association reported in 2011 that 30 percent of undergraduates were so depressed they could hardly function.
To combat this meaninglessness, students need to find a purpose in life—something that is meaningful to themselves and that also serves the greater good.
Having a purpose will provide extra positive energy that not only keep students motivated, but also help them acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to pursue their purpose, making them very strong learners. Youth with a strong sense of purpose also benefit from positive emotions such as gratitude, self-confidence, optimism, and a deep sense of fulfillment—all of which scientists have found help prevent depression and anxiety.
Students who carry this sense of purpose into adulthood may also benefit in the long run. Research shows that adults who feel their lives have meaning and purpose are happier, more successful at work, and have stronger relationships.
Give students an awe-inducing experience to introduce a new unit of study. When planning your next unit, think about how you might open the unit in a way that places the unit’s topic in the “grander scheme of things” and how students might relate to both the topic and this grander scheme.
It’s important to note that your efforts to induce awe in students will fall on some deaf ears. Not everyone is prone to awe—particularly those who are not comfortable changing their outlook on the world. But that shouldn’t keep teachers from trying to induce awe in students.
(Indebted to various sources)