With schools and programs reopening, and mask mandates becoming optional amidst a pandemic that never truly went away, 2022 was another challenging year for educators, youth programs, and families. While it’s encouraging to once again meet face to face, there was a lot of learning and growth that resulted from this topsy-turvy year. One of them most assuredly is being able to nimbly adapt to changed circumstances. Another might well be the importance of time management skills.

It’s understandable if, with all this going on, you may have missed the chance to keep up with some of our recent research, studies, tips, and best practices. Or you might want a refresher as the year draws to a close. In either case, we’ve compiled our top blogs for 2022, our reader favorites, for those of you looking to improve your practice and keep up with the state of developmental relationships.

8 Interventions for Struggling Students

Effort without struggle rarely translates to learning: Over time, students will devalue their effort because they won’t see benefits from those attempts. In order to avoid emphasizing effort over concrete learning techniques, researchers have identified a number of practical strategies to help students learn when they struggle, including clarifying the task, thinking out loud, breaking it down, trying another method, and making a plan. When students are equipped with concrete skills for tackling challenges, it helps boost their motivation for future tasks. Read more…

Social Responsibility Begins Here: Use the Pandemic to Teach Your Kids to Be Good Citizens

For many of us, the pandemic has created an unprecedented opportunity to spend more time with our children. Time that we’re filling with e-learning, screens, play, long bicycle rides, and attempts to get them to finally clean their bedrooms. In addition, this time can be used to do good for others, such as volunteering or helping neighbors. The pandemic has opened young peoples’ eyes and helped make social responsibility personal (think social distancing and washing hands). It has widened the circle of what is considered “we” and made government less abstract and more relevant. These actions, while giving back to others, are also renewing and rewarding. Read more…

Parent-Teacher Conference Tips for Educators

Search Institute’s extensive work with families has given us some insights into how to help teachers to build relationships with parents and caregivers. We developed a series of virtual check-ins that are useful for leaders and practitioners who work with young people. This ongoing support helps them to prepare for and continue the all-important discussion on parent-teacher conference night, and to ensure that the relationship is productive and intentional.

For teachers, it is important that they think of the (short but important) parent-teacher meeting as a relationship-creating opportunity, relating their goals and providing feedback (both good and bad), but also listening closely to parent concerns. Never begin this important conversation with the negative, and before you say goodbye to your parents, ask one final question that can often be a game changer. Read more…

Building Connection: Conversation Starters for Youth in Challenging Times

Children, and especially youth, can seem hard to reach. But research shows that young people who are surrounded by a web of developmental relationships are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and more likely to succeed in school and thrive in life. But how do we create that web? 

Conversation starters encourage young people to think about who they are becoming and how they can be intentional in working toward a positive future. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Imagine yourself in 10 years. What would you like to be doing? Who would you be with? 

  • If you could do one thing better, what would it be? How would it make your life better if you could do that? 

Read more…

The Power of Sharing Power

Every relationship involves power. But too often, power is wielded rather than shared. Learning how to share power with others is something that young people learn from the adults in their lives. Sharing power with young people helps prepare them to be responsible adults and shapes the quality of our relationships with them as they grow up.

Sharing power in a developmental relationship involves these four key actions.

  • Respect me. Take me seriously and treat me fairly.

  • Include me. Involve me in decisions that affect me.

  • Collaborate. Work with me to solve problems and reach goals.

  • Let me lead. Create opportunities for me to take action and lead.

Read more…

The Tip of the Iceberg

If you can imagine the Search Institute website and its blog as a vast resource — an “iceberg” of information, if you will — then these five top blogs of 2022 are the mere tip of it. There are plenty more helpful blogs from 2022 to be found there, and more coming online all the time. To keep up with the latest, check out the Search Institute Blog, and consider subscribing for updates.

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