How Students Thrive: Positive Youth Development in Practice
The paper outlines five, research-based tenets that underlie schools that can support positive youth development and includes tools that can help educators identify positive youth development practices that are associated with each tenet. The five tenets are:
Young people need caring, trusting, and supportive relationships with adults and with other young people.
Young people respond to high expectations.
Young people need opportunities to contribute (often referred to as “choice and voice”).
Young people need learning experiences that intentionally engage their interests, offer opportunities to succeed, and provide feedback to enable them to reflect on their accomplishments.
These tenets are consistently present – young people know to expect them from the environment.
The paper points out that although many schools focus on academic outcomes, the developmental achievements students most care most about are the “stepping stones to a successful adult life: relationship formation; cultivating a sense of identity, self-worth, and belonging; and discovering meaningful interests and building mastery of them.” Schools should be designed to support these goals, as they are the engine that drives student engagement and motivation to learn.