Speaking of Purpose, Persistence, and Action | Hooray For Monday

March 25, 2024

By Jenna Fournel, Director of Teaching and Learning

Listen to today’s Hooray for Monday Podcast to hear Aleta share how Purpose, Persistence, and Action became one of Inspired Teaching’s 5 Core Elements

For nearly a decade, Inspired Teaching’s Speak Truth program has provided a powerful example of our teaching philosophy in practice. Over the next several weeks we’ll be looking at how giving students the reins when it comes to conversation in the classroom can boost engagement and lead to learning at a level you and your students never imagined.

“I can’t believe how fast the time went by,” is something we often hear at the end of a Speak Truth session.

This is as true for the discussions that last 45 minutes as it is for those that last three hours. Consistently, students rate their experiences in Speak Truth as more engaging than their experiences in school; when we ask them why, the answers often come back to Purpose, Persistence, and Action.

Note how that connects to some recent comments from our Speak Truth students:

  • Our topic was very interesting and relatable so I felt comfortable to answer any questions concerning it. The discussion was very open and gave us a lot of room to speak freely about our opinions.” 
  • Halfway through the session we all began to speak out our thoughts and things we felt strongly about without holding back. We all shared personal experiences. It made us feel vulnerable but strong.”
  • “I heard a lot of stuff that opened my ears and eyes. We discussed things such as what kids can do to help those who are always getting in trouble. It was like, BOOM everyone had a solution and then we had more and more to add. It felt really good.”

In a Speak Truth session, students are 100% in the driver’s seat as they choose the topic they discuss, the questions they ask, the flow the conversation will take, and the way they will summarize the learning at the end. Over the past few months discussion topics have included: 

  • Lowering the Voting Age to 16
  • Prison Reform
  • The Impact of Rehabilitation vs. Imprisonment for Drug Addiction
  • How Academic and Athletic Pressure Impacts Well-Being
  • What Schools Can Do to Improve Safety
  • Combatting Consumerism

A Speak Truth discussion requires no special web platforms or equipment. It doesn’t require engaging videos or games. And yet – students find it engaging because they must be wholly focused on and actively part of a discussion that matters. 

Engagement matters. A 2016 Gallup poll found that only 32% of 11th graders felt engaged in school. A 2018 CASEL report found that nearly three-quarters of high school students are stressed and bored in school. And at a time when chronic absenteeism is a national problem, “disengagement” is one of the four leading reasons students aren’t going to school. 

Our experience with Speak Truth offers a compelling reason to try adapting more of what we do in a school day to center around our students’ voices and lived experiences. 

  • 92% of students participating in Speak Truth this year report that the experience is more enjoyable and meaningful compared to their experience in school. 
  • 87% say the sessions expose them to new ideas and perspectives. 
  • 100% say the sessions make them feel respected and that they found the experience valuable.

We are forever asking ourselves what more our students can learn, one way to push beyond boredom is to ask ourselves what more they can DO.

For additional insights, resources, and information on Inspired Teaching teacher and youth programming, subscribe to the Hooray For Monday newsletter!

Hooray For Monday is an award-winning weekly publication by Center for Inspired Teaching, an independent nonprofit organization that invests in and supports teachers. Inspired Teaching provides transformative, improvisation-based professional learning for teachers that is 100% engaging – intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Our mission is to create radical change in the school experience – away from compliance and toward authentic engagement.

Listen to This Week’s Episode of Hooray For Monday

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