From Victim to Victory – Changing Students’ Minds about Themselves

Several years ago I heard Jack Canfield speak at the Rigor Relevance Relationships Conference held annually in Cy-Fair ISD. During his presentation, Canfield referenced the E + R = O formula. This is the theory that Event + Response = Outcome, meaning it is not just what happens to you, but how you respond that determines your outcomes.

Recently, I listened to an episode of the Wired Educators Podcast in which host Kelly Croy and leadership consultant Tim Kight referenced the E + R = O formula. As I listened to the podcast, an idea sparked within me to share this powerful principle that made a lasting impact on me with the students at my school.

In my district, and on my campus, we are working to incorporate more and more restorative practices into our discipline management program. I believe the E + R = O formula goes hand in hand with restorative practices and has the power to change students minds about themselves from victim to victory.

I believe this because the E + R = O formula focuses on the R factor – the RESPONSE we have to the EVENTS in our lives has the greatest impact on our OUTCOMES.

I don’t know about the students at your school, but the students at my school often point to the E – the EVENTS in their lives – and blame those events for their outcomes instead of taking responsibility for the real power they have in every situation – their RESPONSE.

I created the slides presentation below to share with students and teachers at my school. The examples it includes are geared toward younger students, as I work at an elementary campus, but you can make a copy of the presentation here to adjust the examples to fit your students’ needs.

Student Responses:

After you share the power of the R factor presentation with students, some ideas for having students respond and reflect include:

  • Utilizing flipgrid to have students reflect on possible responses to an example event
  • Having students create an example E + R = O slide as a table group or small group as one slide in a shared class slides presentation
  • Having students act out scenarios and differing responses and discuss how the outcomes differ based on responses
  • Coming back to the E + R = O formula later in the semester as a part of class meeting or restorative circle to help the class (or specific students) work through an issue

I believe we can help students to change their mindsets from blaming the events in their lives for their outcomes to taking responsibility for their own responses utilizing the E + R = O formula in our schools and classrooms.

How do you help students to take ownership of their responses? What would you add to the list of possible student responses? Please share in the comments!

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