Conference PaperPDF Available

Mariano, J. M., Moran, S., Araújo, U. F., Biglia, B., Folgueiras, P., Jiang, F., Kuusisto, E., Luna, E., Palou, B., Shin, J., & Tirri, K. (2014, October 29). Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU

Authors:

Abstract

Having a sense of purpose is part of a life well lived.How do young people around the world come to identify a positive purpose in life, and what is the role of education in providing the momentum to realize it? In this webinar, experts from six countries explore these questions.
Educating for Youth Purpose Around the World ©Mariano & Moran, 2014
These materials were created through support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to Clark
University, U.S.A. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the
views of the John Templeton Foundation.
Thank you to Fabio Monticone, Jeanine Ashforth, and Sarah Dickinson at the University of South Florida
for their assistance with producing this webinar and transcript.
EDUCATING FOR YOUTH PURPOSE AROUND THE WORLD
WEBINAR TRANSCRIPT
SOURCE: Live Webinar Educating for Youth Purpose Around the World
DATE: October 29th 2014 5:30-6:40 am US EST
PRESENTERS: Ulisses Araújo (Brazil)
Fei Jiang (China)
Esther Luna, Pilar Folgueiras, Bárbara Biglia,
& Berta Palou (Spain)
Kirsi Tirri & Elina Kuusisto (Finland)
Jongho Shin (South Korea)
Seana Moran (U.S.A.)
MODERATOR: Jenni Menon Mariano (U.S.A.)
QUESTIONS/TOPICS
ADDRESSED: What does the word purpose mean in your country/culture?
What are the ways that young people come to identify their purpose
in life in your country/culture?
In what ways does education help or hinder youth purpose in
your country/culture?
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PRESENTATIONS
ULISSES ARAÚJO (Brazil):
Scholars in Brazil describe “purpose” as a life project that guides actions and choices of the self.
Purpose is related to objectives and goals that are both meaningful to the self and to the wider
world. Based on moral values and giving an ethical meaning to life and one’s actions, "purpose"
expresses an engagement of the self in making a difference in the world. Purpose is realized
through applying one’s personal interests and capabilities through the application of action, and
through the assistance of an optimistic and persistent attitude.
In Brazil, several studies examine the content of youths’ purposes. The research shows that
Brazilian young people who engage in purpose always report the importance of episodes and
people that are very striking and meaningful in their lives. They often identify purpose through
meanings, values and interpersonal relationships associated with work and family. In many cases,
study and training are also a way to engage in purposes. Engaging in social groups or institutions
such as religion, political groups, volunteer work, and causes and actions related to minority
groups and social issues –is another way to identify one’s purpose. In defining their purpose, young
people often highlight the influence of people who are close to them who they admire as examples
of good living.
Schools in Brazil are still far from a path that helps young people to identify purpose. The school
curriculum emphasizes an abstract and fragmented knowledge about the world, but not issues that
encourage understanding of interpersonal relationships and self-knowledge. There are obstacles
and resistance faced by the schools in working with moral education, because moral education is
not considered objective. Furthermore, educational processes hinder autonomy and concern for
others, since they prioritize individual work, discipline, and obedience to authority and rules: In
contrast, moments of dialogue, participation and creation, are critical for the identification and
engagement of purpose.
It is recommended that the school curriculum be designed to promote life projects that guide
individuals’ actions. For example, curricula could be more directly designed to foster moral values
and an understanding of the ethical meaning of life. Additionally, students need to know how to
put ethical values into practice through field-based experiences, such as service-learning.
At the University of Säo Paulo we have piloted one such approach. We use a problem-based and
cross-disciplinary learning project wherein students address issues of human rights through
academic and field experiences, and wherein they collaborate directly with communities. We hope
to share results of this program in the future.
FEI JIANG (China):
In China, Purpose means the yearning and pursuit of one’s future. People always metaphorically
look on purpose as the lighthouse, symbolizing the guidance of one’s life. Purpose is achievable,
and it is very different from fantasy and daydream. Purpose is formed in practice and is something
ideological. It is a representation of a person’s worldview, philosophy of life, values, and political
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standpoint. Purpose is normally classified into social purpose and personal purpose. Personal
purpose could be further categorized into living purpose, professional purpose, and moral purpose.
Living purpose is concerns with a certain state of life one desires to live in the future, including
one’s anticipations to future material life, spiritual life and family life. Professional purpose means
the professional state a person desires to reach. It is about occupation choice based on personal
capabilities and social requirements. Three basic elements would decide one’s professional
purpose: to make a living; to exert one’s talents; to undertake social responsibilities. Moral purpose
generally refers to what kind of person one wants to be. In Chinese ideology, it’s about being a
noble-minded person. Social purpose refers to the common purpose proposed by the majority of
members in the society, representing most people’s anticipations of the society. The prerequisite
of social purpose is the dissatisfaction with and negation of reality. Social purpose encompasses
people’s positive predictions of the future social need. It implies the ideal social model and the
best ways to achieve it. Under the norm of social purpose, the nation proposed Common Purpose.
At present, the common purpose for all Chinese people is “to build the nation into a prosperous,
strong, democratic and civilized modern socialist country”.
Young people identify their purposes through influences from significant others and social
practices. Direct experiences like interactions with parents, teachers, peers, other acquaintances,
even significant strangers like heroes, always help students find their purpose in life. Indirect
experiences like reading the biography and achievements of exemplars, heroes, celebrities are also
important ways to identify purpose. Social practices like service learning, fieldwork and interns
also offer good platforms for students to search for their callings in life.
ESTHER LUNA, PILAR FOLGUEIRAS, BÁRBARA BIGLIA, & BERTA PALOU
(SPAIN):
To speak about purpose education in Spain, it is necessary to ask ourselves, what does purpose
mean? It is not common in our culture to talk about life purpose, however we use the word purpose
to refer to an objective, an intention, or finality. Purpose is what you want to achieve, or get. It has
to be coherent with the social possibilities and needs of the person, and of young people.
To identify the purposes of young people, we have several ways. Family is considered to have a
very important role in the decision making of sons and daughters and in the focus on important
issues, such as academics. The school works with families to make sure that support is exercised
in the best possible way. In schools the guidance departments allow the necessary support to
students who need it. This work is carried out in coordination with institutions and organizations.
Also, there are schools that have programs that promote autonomy, responsibility, and the personal
growth of young people, and thus have consolidated the fundamental basis for decision making.
This will help young people to find their educational purpose. Some of these programs include
service learning projects. Also, when students are finishing high school, they receive guidance on
the possibilities that they can pursue once they complete school, such as vocational training, further
schooling, and so on. Educational authorities are a third way that helps students identify purpose.
The state administration provides resources, programs and specific plans that help students identify
their purpose. The fourth way is those more informal options that are widely used by students.
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These include: things that can be found on websites, such as blogs; meetings, courses; NLP
programs; and coaching to identify the purposes one has in life.
No specific space is given within formal education to help young people to define their “life
purpose”. Nonetheless, educational counseling is provided in order to promote the development of
study habits, attention and concentration in the classroom and the development of other abilities.
Normally, this task is realized by psycho-pedagogical teams during initial education (between 3
and 10 years old) and by the Training Department in secondary school (12 and 16 years old). This
counselling helps young people to define short to medium terms objectives, lately influenced by
the situation of crisis. Objectives are re-adapted through a reflection on young peoples’ trial and
error process. Lately we have also been working on creating blogs, meetings, courses, and NLP
programs that offer trainings about personal growth and the search for life’s meaning.
According to the 2013 Report on "The Education and Training Strategy for European and Spanish
Educational Objectives”, the educational training strategy to 2020 includes these objectives: 1)
Working together and coordination between all education authorities, 2) Reducing early school
leaving and the momentum of learning throughout life implies an improvement of human capital,
and 3) Establishing basic guidelines for designing educational policies. These are reflected in three
commitments, namely: 1. Commitment of all educational authorities in developing a plan for the
reduction of early school leaving and training; 2. Commitment of all educational authorities in
developing a plan to increase graduation rates in the secondary second stage; and 3. Commitment
of all educational authorities in developing lifelong learning plans. Although these strategies are
already established by educational policies, often the reality is different. Cuts in education have
been very high. These cuts have led to replacement of school programs with community initiatives
that promote the education of the community in general.
In conclusion, we can say about purpose education in Spain, that the idea of objectives is more
common than purpose, that there is a proliferation of blogs, meetings, courses, and NLP programs
that offer trainings about personal growth and search for life’s meaning, that there is a need to
establish basic guidelines for designing educational policies, and that family has an important role.
A challenge is that so far, the psychologist has been the professional in the school that has helped
the student find their purpose. However, with the current crisis in Spain this professional is
disappearing. This is affecting education severely.
KIRSI TIRRI AND ELINA KUUSISTO (FINLAND):
In Finland and in Finnish culture, purpose means the same as meaning, and meaning in life, or
important goals in life. We also think it is something positive, something that gives hope for the
future.
The way that young people come to identify their purpose in life in Finnish culture include our
holistic school pedagogy. In Finnish schools we educate the whole person, including the emotional
and moral dimensions, not only the cognitive one. We also have religious education in schools in
every grade level. Approximately 92% of students take part in the Lutheran religious education.
The youth also take part in the Evangelical Lutheran confirmation school. Almost 90% of the
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young people attend that kind of school. We also have young confirmed voluntary workers in this
Confirmation school. They are usually camps that discuss life purpose with young people.
In what ways does education help youth purpose in Finland? Schooling includes our national value
of equality. In Finland everybody has equal learning opportunity, because education is free. And
we also invest a lot in special education for those who have some kind of learning needs. So, the
Finnish educational system is of very high quality as judged by international standards. This
schooling is one important way in which to help young people to identify purpose in life.
Things that might hinder purpose identification include the current trend of marginalization among
ninth graders. Nine percent of our ninth graders are marginalized and don’t take part in any kind
of education. Also, schools in the larger cities for example, in the capital city of Helsinki are
very segregated.
To conclude, teachers in Finland have a very important role in supporting youth purpose. This has
been demonstrated in empirical research that is just recently published. Also, the religious
education promotes ethical reflection among our youth. And, the national standard of equal
educational opportunity provides a good culture for finding purpose.
JONGHO SHIN (Korea):
First, I like to talk about what purpose means to Korean adolescents. Like the definition of purpose
in the dictionary, to Korean adolescents, purpose means the future direction or something to be
achieved. Also, they consider purpose something that adds meaning to one’s current life, and
something that leads to specific actions to achieve what they want. These two concepts are very
similar to what we observe from Western adolescents. However, Korean adolescents often think
purpose is something that needs to be pursued with people around them such as family members.
From the chart on the slide, most Korean adolescents choose to pursue a happy life with family
members as the most important outcome in life. From this, we can infer that purpose to Korean
adolescents is not only the meaning or outcome they want to achieve individually, but also the
meaning or outcome they want to share with meaningful people surrounding them.
Recently I personally asked undergraduate and graduate students what led them to have their
current purpose of life. The most frequent report was the influence of meaningful others. Family
members, peers, and teachers were cited frequently. Second, Korean adolescents find their purpose
by personally undergoing and overcoming hardships in life, such as the death of their loved ones
and economic difficulties of their family. Third, they identify purpose through vicarious
experiences from others’ stories on overcoming life tragedies, like the story of Ji-Sun Lee, who
started a new life as a counselor after suffering a huge burn all over her body in her teens.
I’d like to move on to the next topic on the role of education in identifying and developing purpose
in Korea. Korean students spend a lot of time studying, especially preparing for college entrance.
As the pie chart shows, they spend over 15 hours a day studying including studying at school.
It is only about 3 hours a day that they can spend freely except for studying and sleeping. Therefore,
it is hard for them to find time to think about their purpose of life and to have related life
experiences.
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In addition, many Korean students think that school education is not of any help to identifying and
developing their life purpose. On the contrary, sometimes, it is an obstacle to identifying their
purpose in a meaningful way. This belief, I think, is strongly related to a very competitive academic
atmosphere in Korea.
In conclusion, as with adolescents in the Western culture, Korean adolescents think of purpose as
the meaning of their life and the reason for their action. They also consider purpose something
they want to share with meaningful others like family members. With regard to factors affecting
purpose identification and development, social relationships with meaningful others, and direct
and indirect experiences of overcoming hardships in life are reported most by Korean adolescents.
Finally, the Korean school system is very competitive so that Korean adolescents consider that
educational experiences in school do not promote their purpose development. Instead, education
in school hinders its development often.
Having purpose is an important developmental task for adolescents across all countries and
cultures. More attention should be given to adolescents’ purpose development to help our future
generation to grow up psychologically healthy.
SEANA MORAN (U.S.A.):
It is important to consider not only what purpose IS but what it DOES for people. Clinical research,
based on Victor Frankl’s groundbreaking work after the Holocaust, shows how having a purpose,
something that gives us a reason for our existence, provides many benefits, including motivation,
life satisfaction, and resilience. Given that purpose confers such benefits, perhaps we should instill
purpose earlier in life. More recently, a developmental perspective focused on youth and young
adults, emphasizes how purpose can function as a future-oriented guide for linking current
behavior to an ideal future self. Developmentally, purpose is viewed as a life-long intention to
engage in meaningful, prosocial endeavors. It provides a sense that a person matters. Purpose
answers the question “WHY am I?” that goes beyond identity’s “WHO am I?”
In the United States, only about a quarter of youth demonstrate a fully developed purpose.
Another quarter of youth have goals that focus only on benefits to the self. One in 10 youth have
a dream to contribute to others in some way but have not yet found an outlet. Unfortunately, four
in 10 are not yet on a purposeful path. Most youth follow their culture’s “default” purposes or
“core cultural ideas,” those agreed upon goals best supported by their culture’s institutions.
Currently in the United States, much emphasis is placed on career and “getting ahead in life.” Only
16% aim to change society through creativity, and another 12% aim for change through tolerance.
A purpose can be found through passive acceptance of norms, or identified more proactively
through exploration. Either way, to be considered a fully developed purpose REQUIRES
commitment, an investment of one’s self and one’s personal resources into the pursuit. A few
youth believe “everyone has a purpose” because its given by God, by parents, by social class or
status, or by other societal requirements. These youth express considerable certainty in their sense
of purpose even if they may not yet understand their purpose’s particular tasks.
Many youth credit friends and familyand to a lesser degree, teachersfor providing
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encouragement,role models, and moral support for finding their purpose. Crystallizing experiences
that harmonize youths’ talents, sense-of-self, and social networks create the strongest path to
purpose. These experiences require engagement, meaningfulness, and usually interaction with
others or the wider world in some way. Crystallizing experiences produce an “aha! I can do
something about this situation” or “hey! I’m good at this” or “this is so important” conviction that
catalyzes action and self-efficacy.
An education that supports purpose development means understanding how our global
society works and finding a meaningful place within this society. A longitudinal study suggests
purpose development may follow a trajectory of emphasizing empathy and pro-sociality in early
adolescence, finding engaging roles in middle adolescence, deciding priorities and personal
meaning in later adolescence, and forging intentional pathways in early adulthood.
Teachers and activities that specifically focus on purpose’s importance and beyond-the-self
effects of students’ actions can stimulate thinking about purpose. Courses that provide avenues
for engagement and reflection also show promise for purpose development. Schools can help less
purposeful youth find purpose by exploring alternatives, providing mentors and coaches, and
orienting youth in a particular direction in life. However, current educational practices may be
counterproductive for youth who already have chosen a purpose, especially a purpose that differs
from the American cultural norm focused on career and financial success.
Purpose is personalizedit is a connection by which the individual contributes intentionally,
meaningfullyand ideally, prosocially—to the community. Purpose isn’t standardized. A “one
size fits all” curriculum, then, could be perceived as a hindrance to purpose development if it is
not in line with the particular purpose of a student.
There is much work to be done to help youth with their purposes. How can a person invest
or devote his or her life? The younger this focus is cultivated, the more time a person has to
devote. Perhaps, purpose is not given or found. It is forged from the opportunities and resources
of a culture, place, and historical time period. This perspective offers a challenging opportunity to
educators. IF purpose is forged and IF purpose emphasizes the direct and meaningful interaction
of person and situation, community, or environment, then classes that have a singular end for all
students, and that take youth out of the flow-of-life, may be counterproductive to purpose
development. Instead of considering education as “preparation” for the future, perhaps frame it as
“inventing” the future. One of our most important inventions, then, is our purpose in life.
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DISCUSSION
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you to all presenters. I want to remind attendees that we will be
recording the presentation and widely distributing it.
At this point, I’m going to invite questions from the audience, and will direct some questions to
presenters. This is a question about family income. In the United States, we often refer to
socioeconomic status, and I know in other countries, perhaps, we use different terms. So, the
question is from attendees: in each country, how does the relationship with purpose differ
depending on family income? In other words, do we see any differences in purpose, and if the
research hasn’t been done, what are our hunches? So, Dr. Ulisses Araújo, we’re going to start
with you. Could you please share any thoughts you might have about this in Brazil?
ULISSES ARAÚJO: Hi, everyone. So, it’s Ulisses Araújo. I have a Master’s student who did
research comparing the residents from a really poor socioeconomic area in Säo Paulo, in the city
of Säo Paulo three years ago, and the region where she worked with the residents had the worst
human development index in Säo Paulo. She compared their purpose with people from a middle
class socioeconomic region, and she found that the students from the low socioeconomic area
were more purposeful in their thoughts and ideas than the people from the middle class. Of
course, we have no complete explanation for that because it was a Master’s research project. We
were just beginning to study that, but it was interesting to see that people from this low-income
family area were more connected to each other. They were more purposeful in terms of working
for community, family, and things like that. So, that’s the experience we had here in Brazil
related to that.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you very much, Dr. Araújo. Dr. Jiang, could you also kindly answer
this question or address it from a Chinese perspective?
FEI JIANG: Hello, everyone, I’m Fei. I’m a professor from Northeast Normal University in
China, and I’ve just been research among Chinese college students. The research concerns the
correlations between the family income and the purpose levels, and the research shows that the
correlations between family income level and student’s purpose developmental stages are not
statistically significant, and also, the correlations between family income levels and student’s
moral orientations are not statistically significant. An interesting finding in my research is that
there is a statistically significant difference between student’s family income levels and student’s
social origin. I think that whether students are from the city or from the countryside, there is a
big income gap between urban levels and rural levels. It shows that students from the countryside
are less developed in their purpose levels. By saying this, I mean, whether students have a social
purpose, or have identified purpose, or are engaged in doing things to realize their purpose, the
students from the countryside are more other oriented.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you, Dr. Jiang. These are interesting different similarities and
differences, and contrasts perceptions and research done in these two countries. Dr. Kuusisto,
would you kindly address that question for us about Finland? Maybe we’ll come back to Dr.
Kuusisto. Dr. Shin, would you kindly address that question?
JONGHO SHIN: Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening. I’m Jongho Shin at SNU,
South Korea. Actually, we don’t have any research evidence on the relationship between purpose
and family income. Regarding family socioeconomic status, Korean adolescents pursue success
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in terms of money, security, and some kind of reputation; however, one of my studies showed
that purpose is related to achievement, and it turned out to be that high achievers feel moral
obligations to society and community and that is kind of an indirect finding that makes us reason
about the relationship between purpose and success, because achievement is measured and is
related to family socioeconomic status. But we don’t have any concrete research finding on the
relationship between purpose and family socioeconomic status; however, when we consider the
relationship between achievement and purpose development, SES might have some kind of a
positive relationship to purpose development. That’s answer. Thank you.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you very much, Dr. Shin. Dr. Moran, would you like to answer that
question for us? Again, we’re having very interesting observations about contrasts among
countries.
SEANA MORAN: Thank you. This is Seana Moran from the United States, and there actually
has not been a lot of direct research done in the United States, either, and it’s an excellent
question that begs for more research. So, what I’m aware of is also the research related to
socioeconomic status or family income is mixed up with race, and as Fei has mentioned, with
urban versus rural. I know of one study by Shamah where she studied youth purpose in rural
communities, and within rural communities. The poorer families, or the students from poorer
families, had a lower sense of purpose in that finding. I also am aware of a study that was done
that has some indirect evidence by Malin et al. out of Stanford, and in the transition from high
school to college and from college to beyond college to the work environment. Whether or not
there was financial pressure affected the young people quite a bit because if there was financial
pressure, which could come from several sources beyond just family income, there was much
more pressure to just cover their needs, and so their future orientations, their thinking about the
future, shortened considerably, and they just needed to pay their rent. So, there can be just
financial pressure that will shorten how much you think about the future, and then I am aware of
a study by Grouzet et al. in 2005, this is actually a multinational study, and so at the country
level, they found that in terms of aspirations, in poorer countries, the respondents, which were of
a whole bunch of different ages, financial aspirations were associated much more closely with
health and safety and affiliation than they were with personal success or extrinsic image, or
status. So, again, I think that focuses more on this sense that when there is financial pressure it
can affect purpose in the sense of shortening, you know: “I need to take of my needs now.”
There is a little bit of indirect evidence, but it needs much more correlation from what I’ve seen,
that in some ways the pressure of not having a lot of resources may not necessarily stimulate
purposefulness. It would be easier to see because there’s less support from the environment, and
so, that’s actually when purpose, if you think about it, is most important because if purpose is
like a powerboat where you’re using your own energy and your own self direction, then it is
under types of challenge where it can be most important. That’s what I’m aware of. Thank you.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you very much. Dr. Luna in Barcelona, Spain, mentions that she
was observing that young students from high school have a different purpose than young
students with a baccalaureate degree: That’s something that they’re obviously observing there, so
thank you for sharing that, Dr. Luna. I am going to also address another question. This relates to
Dr. Shin’s presentation, but I think it’s something that everyone can address. Essentially, you
know, Dr. Shin, you talked about purpose being identified among Korean students through
overcoming hardships in life, and also through the vicarious suffering that one is observing in
other people’s lives, and we don’t see that, as far as I know, in the purpose literature. Would you
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mind addressing that, please, each one of you? Is this something that you have observed in
research in your countries in one way or another? So, Dr. Shin, if you would mind addressing
that first that would be fantastic.
JONGHO SHIN: Actually, I did kind of a case study on purpose fulfillment, and when I found
some adolescents with clear purpose in their life they had identified their life purpose through
some direct and indirect experiences: especially when they had life obstacles that were very
challenging for their life. They thought more about their life and meaning of life, and they tried
to have more time to think about what life should be that could be more meaningful to them. And
they also reported that other stories on overcoming similar obstacles in life give them some kind
of strengths to overcome their life hardship, or help them to think about what kind of life they
should lead and what kinds of contributions they could make to others. So, that’s kind of a
finding I got from my case study, and especially young adolescents who had clear life purpose
had such kind of experiences. Thank you.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you, Dr. Shin. That’s very interesting. Dr. Araújo, we’ll go over to
you and have you answer that question if you don’t mind.
ULISSES ARAÚJO: Yes, I had never thought about that. That’s really interesting about what
Professor Shin has developed, but this made me realize that during one of our research projects
in Brazil we got interesting data working with women in higher education, and they have
reported on a group that got pregnant during adolescence. This experience is a hard experience, I
would say, and for them it made a particular purpose that they reported during their interview
later in high school. The suffering that the situation to become pregnant during adolescence
brought made them stronger during their motherhood and later on, their purpose was really
related to that specific situation during adolescence. So, that’s the situation that I’m really
remembering in our data here in Brazil. That, you know, makes the connection with the data Dr.
Shin just reported.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you very much. Dr. Jiang, could you comment on that question
please?
FEI JIANG: Thank you very much for Dr. Shin. I think this is a very interesting question, and
his findings might just open the window for purpose research. Up to now, in China, I haven’t
seen any literature concerning the correlations between suffering and life purpose, but according
to my own work experiences because I was once a college student counselor I worked as a
counselor for four years dealing with students’ daily lives and studies I believe overcoming
hardships might lead to more determined purpose. But my gut is these experiences might lead to
two very different directions. The first might lead to being stronger-minded and being more
purposeful, and the other, on the other side, people might lose heart, or lose faith, and become a
drifter, I think, in life. That’s my own understanding, thank you.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you, Dr. Jiang, and we’ll see if Dr. Kuusisto is able to answer this
question and hear us. Dr. Kuusisto, could you address that question? Okay, so Dr. Moran, if you
could address that question, please?
SEANA MORAN: A couple of comments from what I’m aware of: The first was a study that
I’m aware of where noticing suffering in others can be a strong stimulus to want to do something
in some of the studies, again, that came out of Stanford that, especially if the young person saw
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suffering, whether it was other students being bullied, or people that lacked clean drinking water
in different parts of the world, or an illness of a family member or a friend, it had a really strong
effect on them that led them to form a lot of personal meaning and a lot of intention. But the
problem came where depending on how young they were, there wasn’t a whole lot of
opportunities for engagement, or they couldn’t figure out how they might still engage, even
though they couldn’t be a doctor, say, in the case of disease. However, there is also work done
with purpose exemplars, which are kind of like purpose prodigies that bring together all of the
aspects of purpose at a much younger age. A lot of times for these exemplars their purpose based
on noticing the suffering of somebody or a group of people, and with a study that was published
back in 2010, I focused on differences between young people who choose purposes that are
normative, creative/change-making, or tolerant. Normative is to a good career and friends and
family that most people mention. The second refers to people who want to change something in
the world, so through creativity, inventing something new. And the other category that popped
out was tolerance, meaning that they wanted to expand the possibilities for other people, and, and
make their group or neighborhood or society more inclusive of different points of view. The third
category purposes were often stimulated by noticing that some individuals, or some groups, were
suffering. They weren’t receiving the same benefits, or they were being harmed directly in some
way. So, the suffering was a big part of them forming how they wanted to live their lives.
Thanks.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you very much. You all provided great answers and a lot of
thought-provoking discussion. I do want close with all the presenters considering one question,
and that is about purpose education. My question is: What do you think in your country is a
fundamental purpose development experience, or educational experience? That is, is there an
experience that you feel represents a good platform for the development of purpose? And I’d like
to start with Dr. Araújo because at the University of Säo Paulo, I understand that Dr. Araújo
spoke about problem-based learning that you are pioneering or spearheading there. Would you
mind please answering that question, Dr. Araújo?
ULISSES ARAÚJO: Well, of course when we talk about a country like Brazil, a huge country,
there might be much more experience than I have around the country, but from my perspective,
the kind of experience we have been doing at the University of Säo Paulo is we put students
together in groups of six to develop service learning or community work in the nearby
community around. We have some nice experience with that and how students develop their
purpose and meaning of life and goals related to that. So, we have some empirical evidence that
many of our students go beyond during their professional life and develop tools and products
related to social enterprise and social networking and things like that. So, we believe that this
kind of information that we are giving to them helps them to move into a more purposeful
experience in their professional lives, but, you know, it’s not really measured by controlling
variables and things like that. It’s just an empirical knowledge that we are getting from that.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you very much. Dr. Jiang, would you kindly address that question
for us?
FEI JIANG: This is a very good question. I know in China there is a class in all levels of
education called Ideological and Political Education. At the college level, the first chapter of
Ideological and Political Education class addresses purpose and belief. Here, by saying belief,
we emphasize our determination. In the class, teachers teach things like purpose-related theories
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12
and the significance of being purposeful, and there is a lot of case studies to give students, like
about what purpose is, and what being purposeful means to oneself, and I think that there are
kinds of purpose learning I mean service learning that are the best ways for students to
practice, or to testify about what is learned in class because this class is compulsory. Students all
over the country have to participate in this Ideological and Political Education class. They have
to learn things about purpose, and they might be in the examination. So, there are kinds of
service learning programs that provide students with opportunities to testify in exams about what
they learned in class. But the only problem is that in China, the service learning program is on a
voluntary basis. It is not compulsory. There is no credit for it, so students who are determined for
the social services, I think, develop positively in the service aspect. Students who do not
voluntarily participate in service learning programs do not have much chance to learn or to pass
the class.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you, Dr. Jiang. Dr. Shin, would you kindly comment on this. Is
there a fundamental purpose development experience formally in terms of education, or non-
formally that you think you should be involved in, or associated with in some way in Korea?
JONGHO SHIN: Personally, I think purpose education, or purpose experience learning is not
common in Korea, and purpose education is part of moral education courses in Korea, but it is
kind of a formal class that does not help adolescents to develop their purpose and to realize the
meaning of life effectively. These days, career guidance is popular, and when they think about
their future career, adolescents might have more hesitance to think about their life meaning and
purpose, especially social purpose to others and to communities; however, I don’t think career
guidance education is as much effective as we expected, but slowly, we emphasize kind of a
volunteering community service, and we ask students to have some kind of experiences in
volunteering community service, but it is kind of just starting now. So, now I think purpose
education is kind of a starting program in South Korea. We try to educate adolescents to have a
kind of a heart, a warm heart considering others and considering communities. So, it is a big
education task for educators in South Korea. Thank you.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you. I think that probably as purpose researchers, we all would
agree that it’s a big education task everywhere. Dr. Moran, would you kindly address that
question?
SEANA MORAN: Great, thank you. Well, there’s a lot of work to be done on this question, and
I don’t really have a good response for a fundamental purpose development platform. I do teach
a seminar on life purpose, “What is My Purpose in Life,” at Clark, and some of my experience, I
have found is that it’s important to set up the class so that the student is a producer of something
made public, or things made public, and not just a consumer of knowledge. It’s the sense of an
education model of act and get feedback, and so, my challenge with the course is two-fold: One
is feedback from the self, so they can build the personal meaning part of purpose, and feedback
from others on what they’ve done, so it’s not just a teacher feedback against a standard, but that
other people besides the teacher see what they have done, and to structure the assignments so
that can happen. For example, they don’t just write a research paper, they have to create a
research poster that then goes into a school-wide academic day of research. Even if they’re just
researching from the literature, they have to present their work, and they have to engage others in
it and see the impact that they have, and also reflection on differences that they intended and
what necessarily happened on the small scale. So there’s just a lot of work to be done trying to
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coordinate that because it’s a different type of feedback. There is some research in the United
States by Scott Seider at Boston University on service learning, and how this might be a very
good venue because it does provide, or it can provide, some of this type of feedback if the
service learning is actually where you are engaging with the people you are helping, not with just
a non-profit organization filing or something, but as Fei had mentioned earlier, these types of
experiences could be hardships in the sense that young people could learn, “Oh, I can’t do
something,” and so again, they may have to be handled very gingerly. So, those are my thoughts.
JENNI MARIANO: Thank you to all presenters. I feel like this discussion is just scratching the
surface with all the rich ideas and responses that are coming up. For example, I know that Dr.
Kuusisto and Dr. Tirri at the University of Helsinki have much to lend to this conversation about
this question because they work with teachers in experiential learning and service learning types
of experiences, and they studied how teacher’s purpose actually relates to student’s purpose. The
same goes for Dr. Esther Luna at the University of Barcelona and her colleagues there who are
actually experts in experiential learning and service learning, so essentially this is a question that
is coming up. I do want to let presenters know that our colleagues that you see here, and several
others who aren’t represented specifically in the conversation will be going more deeply into
some of these questions. We will be writing some book chapters about this and hope to produce
some materials, and as well, we’re also involved in a multinational research study that
investigates some of these questions, so I invite you to look out for new work that comes from
these scholars on the question of purpose, purpose identification, and purpose education and
what that looks like from global perspectives. And there, as I said, there is the contact
information of all our presenters. You are welcome to contact any of us.
I would like to extend a very warm thank you to our support team here at USF. Fabio Monticone
Jeanine Ashforth have been a great help in preparing training and presenter materials and other
types of materials, and finally, thank you to USF Sarasota-Manatee for being a platform for
hosting of this international webinar. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the John Templeton
Foundation. I want to express our gratitude to a generous grant from the John Templeton
Foundation to Clark University USA. The John Templeton Foundation has supported this
webinar, and much of the multinational purpose research and continues to do so. And thank you
to attendees, and presenters. That concludes our webinar. Have a wonderful day.
Educating for Youth Purpose Around the World ©Mariano & Moran, 2014
14
REFERENCES
Individual Presentations:
Araújo, U. F. (2014, October 29). Purpose in Brazil. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers),
Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from:
http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Luna, E., Folgueiras, P., Biglia, B., & Palou, B. (2014, October 29). Purpose education in Spain.
In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world
[Webinar]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Jiang, F. (2014, October 29). Purpose education in China. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran
(Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from:
http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Moran, S. (2014, October 29). American youth purpose: Why am I? In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran
(Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from:
http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Shin, J. (2014, October 29). Purpose in Korea. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating
for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from:
http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Tirri, K. & Kuusisto, E. (2014, October 29). Purpose in Finland. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran
(Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from:
http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Full Webinar Citation:
Mariano, J. M., Moran, S., Araújo, U. F., Biglia, B., Folgueiras, P., Jiang, F., Kuusisto, E., Luna,
E., Palou, B., Shin, J., & Tirri, K. (2014, October 29). Educating for youth purpose around
the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Purpose in Brazil Educating for youth purpose around the world Purpose education in Spain Educating for youth purpose around the world Purpose education in China Educating for youth purpose around the world American youth purpose: Why am I
  • U F Araújo
  • E Luna
  • P Folgueiras
  • B Biglia
  • B Palou
REFERENCES Individual Presentations: Araújo, U. F. (2014, October 29). Purpose in Brazil. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU Luna, E., Folgueiras, P., Biglia, B., & Palou, B. (2014, October 29). Purpose education in Spain. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU Jiang, F. (2014, October 29). Purpose education in China. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU Moran, S. (2014, October 29). American youth purpose: Why am I? In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Purpose in Brazil Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • U F Araújo
Araújo, U. F. (2014, October 29). Purpose in Brazil. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • E Luna
  • P Folgueiras
  • B Biglia
  • B Palou
Luna, E., Folgueiras, P., Biglia, B., & Palou, B. (2014, October 29). Purpose education in Spain. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Purpose education in Spain (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • E Luna
  • P Folgueiras
  • B Biglia
  • B Palou
Luna, E., Folgueiras, P., Biglia, B., & Palou, B. (2014, October 29). Purpose education in Spain. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Purpose education in China Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • F Jiang
Jiang, F. (2014, October 29). Purpose education in China. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
American youth purpose: Why am I Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • S Moran
Moran, S. (2014, October 29). American youth purpose: Why am I? In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • U F Araújo
Araújo, U. F. (2014, October 29). Purpose in Brazil. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • J Shin
Shin, J. (2014, October 29). Purpose in Korea. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • S Moran
Moran, S. (2014, October 29). American youth purpose: Why am I? In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU
Educating for youth purpose around the world
  • K Tirri
  • E Kuusisto
Tirri, K. & Kuusisto, E. (2014, October 29). Purpose in Finland. In J.M. Mariano & S. Moran (Producers), Educating for youth purpose around the world [Webinar]. Retrieved from: http://youtu.be/GM_sziyLOAU