Engaging Students With Ownership
Jostens Advisers & Staff
Lisa Stein, Bryant High School [AR]
Lisa, CJE, is the adviser of the Hornet yearbook at Bryant High School. She loves scholastic journalism, food, her three cats and her husband, not necessarily in that order.
One of the most effective ways to motivate a staff is to make sure they know the book is theirs. As their adviser, we must ADVISE, not conceptualize the book, design pages, take photos or write stories. In my classroom, I give them the tools, but they have to do the work. The more ownership my students feel over the product, the more motivated they will be to make it great. If they know that I’m just going to tell them what to do or come in behind them and fix their work, they won’t feel that same sense of possession.
These simple activities create stronger relationships that make stressful moments easier and successes even sweeter.
When you really think about it, what we ask of our students sounds a little crazy — they’re expected to put together a book for their peers and community completely from scratch while maintaining their teenage lives and obligations. However, providing opportunities for them to own their work, build relationships and have fun will make their yearbook staff experience rewarding and memorable. If they love what they’re doing, that love will be evident in the pages they create.