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8 Insights on How to Raise Successful People


Esther Wojcicki is known as the the "Godmother of Silicon Valley" and is the best-selling author of How To Raise Successful People. Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of having Esther in conversation alongside our CEO and Founder, Eileen Murphy, as they discussed the intersection of T.R.I.C.K. values and the role of literacy and technology in education. Check out the recording of the webinar here and read on to find out what you can do to raise successful students. 

Below are the 8 biggest takeaways for educators: 

  1. Give students the freedom to make mistakes and revise. In doing so, students learn to be creative and believe in themselves. Esther did this by giving her students no grades. Students had the opportunity to revise a paper up to 11 times if necessary in order to receive an A grade.

  2. Embrace the approach of assessing students by encouraging mastery helps students flourish vs. accountability grading. Giving students many opportunities to edit their work allowed for collaboration in the form of peer editing. Students became passionate about doing well.

  3. Allow students to be independent by participating in teaching their peers. Esther created a community where everyone in the classroom was a learner. As a result, students were constantly debating and creating presentations for the class. This collaborative approach gives students agency. 

  4. Even the most disengaged student becomes engaged when they have some T.R.I.C.K. in their classroom. T.R.I.C.K. is an acronym Esther invented that stands for Trust, Respect, Independence, Collaboration, and Kindness. Students, teachers, and administrators should try to implement T.R.I.C.K. in their school communities.

  5. Kindness matters.  We need to treat our students with kindness, who will in turn then treat their friends with kindness. Nurturing environments for students will help them flourish. Creating a culture of kindness in the school community can help the entire district.

  6. Ask students to write about what they care about. Their writing improves dramatically when they care about what they’re writing. When kids are in elementary school, they say “I hate to write.” I say to them:  “Do you hate to talk? It seems like you’re talking all the time. Writing is just like talking, the only difference is that it’s on paper. What is it that you like to talk to your friend about? Do you have a story about something that happened to you this week or last?” With older kids, there is nothing more engaging than asking them to write a review of something.

  7. Risk-taking is core to creativity. We are teaching with the same methods today— lecture, reading, memorizing–even in the digital age.  Memorization should no longer be the focus. If your students continue to focus on memorizing, they will be afraid to take a risk and will just want to be “right”.

  8. Students need to feel like they are a part of a community. Students work together and support each other when they feel they are a part of a community. Students need to know they're not alone and that they are a part of the community. Parents should also be a part of this community. 

Be sure to check out the full webinar, along with our favorite clips. You can also find Esther’s best-selling book, Raising Successful People, here