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One simple strategy to improve student effort

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One simple strategy to improve student effort

This research-supported mental strategy helps students, as well as adults, to set goals, improve effort, and overcome challenges in order to make meaningful change.

W.O.O.P., developed by researcher Gabrielle Oettingen, stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

Here’s how it works:


Identify a challenging but feasible wish or goal.  

If you have multiple wishes, choose to begin with the one that is most important.  Phrase it in as few words as possible.  


What would be the best outcome of fulfilling your wish?

This drives thought about why the chosen wish or goal is so important, connecting with your own values.  Why do you want this; why does it matter? 


What is the main obstacle that could stop you from fulfilling your wish?

The key here is to think of an inner obstacle that could hold you back, thus implicitly signaling that you have control and your effort matters. This isn’t something being done to you. Circumstances outside your own control are mostly a waste of mental energy to think about because, by definition, you can’t control them! 


When your obstacle arises, what will you do to overcome it?

Your plan makes the obstacle welcome and expected and therefore not so frightening.

W.O.O.P. is an excellent tool to use with students and adults in personal and professional contexts. Learn more about this strategy at  

Want more strategies to improve effort?

Our Fostering Engagement program covers the six essential elements of student engagement and over 20 practical strategies you can implement with your students right away!

Like these ideas? To learn classroom engagement strategies that make the most immediate impact, we recommend checking out our program, "Fostering Engagement Online Course."

Learn More >

Amy Jimenez

Author Since: May 8, 2018

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