5 concepts to know that affect your student's future

Jun 2023

Every educator can (and should) know some essential concepts that can help students build a better and healthy future. Understanding the meanings of Hope, Pathways, Agency, Hope Theory, and Self-efficacy can make a difference in teachers' activities and students' lives.

Keep in mind a summary of the following key concepts:

  • Hope is students' perceived ability to envision a better future for themselves mixed with their perceived ability to make it happen. Hope includes students’ perceived ability to envision exact paths to their goal.
  • Pathways are students' perceived ability to envision initial and alternative paths (in case of setbacks or impediments) to desirable future goals, irrespective of their current circumstances.
  • Agency is defined as students' perceived belief in their own ability, mixed with their motivation to accomplish their envisioned goals via their envisioned paths.
  • Hope theory asserts that both pathways and agency are needed for hopeful thinking and that together they create synergy.
  • Self‐efficacy is one's perceived ability to accomplish a specific identified goal within a specific domain or situation.

Self-efficacy can help students build their future

With self‐efficacy, there is an emphasis on whether a student can accomplish a goal while in hope theory the emphasis is on whether a student will accomplish a goal.

Take aways

  • The more a student feels a higher sense of importance in their school community, the better they are able to consider future consequences and integrate these thoughts into their current actions.
  • As students feel more valued and connected to others in their school community, and the more they believe in their visionary abilities, the greater their motivation and perseverance.
  • As students feel more valued and connected to their peers and teachers within their school community, and as their perceived ability to envision paths to their goals increases, the better they are able to sustain focus and attention.


‍‍Hope and school belonging meaningfully predict the executive function of adolescents. This indicates that hope, school belonging, and potentially other school‐related psychosocial perceptions might be able to be leveraged to improve decision‐making, drive, and self‐management skills of adolescent students.

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