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Promoting youth purpose: A review of the literature

Publication Authors: 
Koshy, S. I., & Mariano, J. M.
Publication Year: 
Publication Journal: 
New Directions for Youth Development, 132, 13-29. DOI: 10.1002/yd.425

The research literature on teaching and supporting purpose is reviewed in this article. An extensive search revealed that most studies on youth purpose examine psychological correlates and neglect instructional and social supports. School is an effective context for fostering purpose, yet reported approaches for explicitly instructing for purpose have been rare since the early 1990s, reflecting a trend away from a language of purpose as a discrete endeavor in education, at least since the 1960s. Furthermore, research on the outcomes of early purpose instruction curricula is not present in empirical journal articles. A concern for fostering youth purpose, however, has not disappeared from education; rather, it has been subsumed in approaches that foster more comprehensive positive student outcomes, such as character, civic engagement, and positive youth development. Key curricular approaches to these outcomes are therefore also reviewed and examined for insights into how purpose can be fostered.