Hope is a Leading Predictor of Success

POE President’s Corner with Tim Whaley

I was recently watching the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption,” one of my favorites! I am always inspired by the central message of HOPE. In fact, there is a scene where Andy Dufresne, a bank vice president accused of murder who claimed his innocence, reminds his friends that “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things”! As it turns out, old Andy was right. Recent research by the OU Hope Research Center in Tulsa reveals that hope is not a simple wish or feeling but rather it is a proven science with correlative outcomes.

Hope is a leading predictor of success in a variety of sectors, including education. According to the Hope Research Center, hope has a positive impact on academic achievement from elementary to graduate school, absences, grades/test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment rates. And the good news doesn’t stop there!  According to Dr. Chan Hellman, director of the Hope Research Center and co-author of the book, Hope Rising: How the Science of Hope Can Change Your Life, the science of hope demonstrates that hope can be learned and includes evidence-based practices for fostering the pathways that lead from hope to success!  

We as educators play a key role in our students’ success! We know that adverse situations and emotional turmoil can change the trajectory of our students’ outcomes. But we can use our ‘gift’ of teaching to give the ‘gift’ of hope! This can be accomplished by developing positive relationships with those kids who cross our path! It requires us to be intentional in both our words and actions each and every day…year after year! We can and do make a difference. I challenge you, my fellow educators, to be intentional in your gifting of hope! Let’s foster the pathways to success and positive outcomes, both in the classroom and in life! Our student’s need us more now than ever!

For more information on Dr. Hellman’s story, hope research and Oklahoma First Lady Sarah Stitt’s Hope Rising Oklahoma initiative, check out the following links:

Yours in Service,

Tim W. Whaley, POE President

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