Nurturing curiosity in youth can lead to lifetime love of learning

Five commitment to learning assets are a critical part of healthy youth development

This is the sixth in a series of posts that take a closer look at the developmental assets that are at the foundation of the AstraZeneca Young Health Program: IM40.  Previous posts may be found here, here, here, here and here.

Today’s post explores “commitment to learning” as a category of internal assets or those personal values, competencies and experiences that come from within.

What is commitment to learning?

A commitment to learning is a commitment to growing says Search Institute. When we learn something new, we grow, change and expand our horizons. This is true whether one is age 5, 15, or 55. Young people look to their teachers, parents, and neighbors to learn new information, ideas and perspectives.

The five commitment to learning assets

The developmental assets framework includes five commitment to learning assets that show how much young people are motivated to learn:

1. Achievement Motivation – Young person is motivated to do well in school.

2. School Engagement – Young person is actively engaged in learning.

3. Homework – Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day.

4. Bonding to School – Young person cares about her or his school.

5. Reading for Pleasure – Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

Assets in action: Davida’s story

Her own love of learning and wanting to give back is why AstraZeneca’s Davida Baker volunteers with The Forum to Advance Minorities in Engineering (FAME) program. Through this program, Davida and other local professionals encourage young people to pursue careers in engineering and science.

Ideas for building a commitment to learning

The following tips are courtesy of Search Institute:

  • Model curiosity and discovery. A commitment to learning is contagious.
  • Read with young people and encourage them to read on their own.
  • Make learning relevant. Young people benefit from seeing how learning applies to working.
  • Provide a calm, pleasant atmosphere for learning and studying.
  • Highlight learning beyond the classroom. Learning happens in many different places – in homes, nature, community centers, congregations, workplaces, and parks.
  • Highlight for youth what others have accomplished through education.

For more information about the Young Health Program: IM40, visit www.im40.org. To connect with other asset builders on Twitter, use #YHP40 or visit us on Facebook.