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Helping Teens Find Purpose: A Tool For Educators To Support Students’ Discovery

CAPS and its use of the Wayfinder program was featured by KQED Midshift. Here is an excerpt fromthe story:

“A lot of times they don’t know where to begin,” said Erin Hayes, a foundations of medicine instructor for CAPS. “Sometimes it’s hard for those high-achieving students to do that piece because they’re looking for the check boxes.” She tries to weave Wayfinding activities throughout her curriculum when she thinks students need a moment to reflect or a tool to help them gain clarity.

Hayes also uses the tools to help individual students. One student came to Hayes with a dilemma: She thought she’d found her passion and was excited to pursue it, but knew her parents thought she should become a doctor. She felt weighed down by their expectations, as well as anxious that they might be right. Hayes gave her the “Islands and Buoys” exercise.

The activity asks the student to think about all buoys in life — the “should dos.” Then the student brainstorms the islands, the things she would love to do. Sometimes the buoys can help a person reach their island, so the activity leads the student through a reflection process about which buoys might help them reach their goal and which ones may be in contention with the goal.

“For her I think it was so helpful to lay it all out on the table,” Hayes said. Her ultimate goal was to affect change on a global scale and she felt tension with the “should” of becoming a doctor. But the activity helped her see the idea of becoming a doctor differently, as a potential route to global change.

Click here to read the full story.