1. Instead of messaging to families, start with listening to families In too many cases, efforts to engage families begin with policy makers, researchers, and professionals determining what families need to do, and then developing messages that will generate “buy-in,” support, and participation. But whenever we authentically take time to listen to and build an […]

“Restless, unfocused and unmotivated” are the words Tiffany Abrams, a Special Education teacher at Pine River-Backus Schools used to describe her 7th-grade class at the beginning of the 2016 school year. According to Abrams, they had a difficult time being independent learners. Pine River is a town in northern Minnesota with a small population–only 944–but […]

  We know, from years of research, that gaining insight into middle and high school students’ social-emotional skills is essential for motivating them to become self-propelled young adults. So we have broken these social-emotional skills into five simple areas: 1. Relationships: The single most powerful thing that educators can do to increase motivation is to build close connections […]

  Student motivation is a huge challenge. We know from our research that 69% of teachers say that student motivation is an issue in their classroom. We also know that intrinsic motivation declines continuously from kindergarten through high school. Motivation decreases in the jump from elementary to middle school and from middle to high school. […]

Most of us have a memory of a class in high school we just weren’t good at. For many it was math or english. For some it was art. Either way, the results were the same–belief that we’re not good at that subject, that we just didn’t have what it takes to get through it. […]

“It’s a collaborative thing. It’s a two-way street: you grow with each other as a leader. Maybe one has more experience than the other, but it’s about sharing that and to ultimately grow together.” — Shinnyo-en Focus Group Participant Search Institute’s Approach Search Institute’s partnership with Shinnyo-en Foundation exemplifies how we seek to bridge between […]

Youth facing organizations have long recognized that prioritizing relationships are essential components of work that produces valuable outcomes for youth. But at Search Institute, we have found that although many youth facing organizations believe that they are making relationships a priority, in actuality many organizations make them a lower priority than such things as curricula […]

The “relationship gap”. That phrase likely doesn’t mean much to you. But in our research, the relationship gap gets in the way of many youths becoming thriving adults. We are seeking to understand what’s inside the “black box” of thriving relationships with our research on developmental relationships so we can improve the relationship gap in the […]

We believe that building developmental relationships with young people is the single most influential thing adults can do to help them succeed. We know from our research that there’s a strong correlation between kids having strong developmental relationships in their lives and their likelihood to become thriving and contributing adults. But we also know that […]

Much of Search Institute’s past research on relationships has shown their value in the lives of youth, and how kids experience better outcomes when these relationships are strong. Our research is now shifting to how we can help families, organizations and communities that work with kids build these relationships. Search Institute recently interviewed 55 leaders […]