Education has improved immensely in the past 20 years. Today, more young people are taking high-level
courses, fewer of them are dropping out, math and science scores are on the rise, and more students are
entering college after high school. But that doesn’t mean a commitment to learning happens naturally in all
young people. Instilling this important trait involves a combination of values and skills that include the
desire to succeed in school, a sense of the lasting importance of learning, and a belief in one’s own ability.
This commitment is strongly influenced by the school environment and relationships with family and peers.
Commitment to Learning is one of eight asset categories that make up Search Institute’s 40
Developmental Assets, the qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up
healthy, caring, and responsible.
Here are the facts
Research shows the more young people are committed to learning, the more likely they are to grow up
healthy. Search Institute has identified five assets in the Commitment to Learning category crucial for
helping young people: Achievement Motivation, School Engagement, Homework, Bonding to School, and
Reading for Pleasure.
Tips for building these assets
By supporting young people and reminding them of the built-in rewards of learning, you can help them
deepen their engagement in learning at school, at home, and in the community. Focus on young people
individually to help meet distinct needs, styles, and preferences. Schools and youth programs often offer
different options. And remember: Learning happens everywhere, not just in school.
Also try this
In your home and family: Encourage reading as a regular part of your child’s day or read aloud
together. When young people are read to, have book collections at home and limits on TV watching,
they are more likely to read for pleasure and lifelong learning.
In your neighborhood and community: Be a role model. Show young people your enthusiasm for
learning new skills and gathering information. Encourage and support young people in finding new
things that get them excited about learning.
In your school or youth program: Bring in guests who have achieved their dreams. Invite the
students and participants to interview them and learn firsthand about the commitment needed to