From One SA Pro to Another: Incorporating Self-Authoring for Goal Attainment

Have you ever had a student who you know is struggling to stay on track with their goals?

This recent article from NPR shares some research into the positive effects of “self-authoring” – particularly for students from so-called “at risk” backgrounds.

What is self-authoring?

The idea came from a professor teaching a course called “Maps of Meaning.” In the course,

Students complete a set of writing exercises that combine expressive writing with goal-setting. Students reflect on important moments in their past, identify key personal motivations and create plans for the future, including specific goals and strategies to overcome obstacles. Peterson calls the two parts ‘past authoring’ and ‘future authoring.’

Research is now showing that such activities can have an impact. In one study, “the ‘self-authoring’ students greatly improved the number of credits earned and their likelihood of staying in school. And after two years, ethnic and gender-group differences in performance among the students had all but disappeared.”

In a student support capacity, what can be done to increase the use of writing as a tool to help students remain motivated and achieve goals?

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