Situating Hope Theory in Supervision Theory: Increasing goal-setting skills for teachers and students



First Presenter's Institution

University of Georgia

First Presenter’s Email Address


First Presenter's Brief Biography

Chasity Tompkins is a three-time graduate of The University of Georgia. She has earned a BSA in agricultural and applied economics, Master's of Agricultural and Environmental Education, and M.Ed. in Workforce Education. Tompkins is currently working on completing a PhD in Educational Theory and Practice. Her research interests include positive youth development, Hope Theory, environmental education, agricultural literacy, and non-traditional educational programs.


Session Nine Breakouts

Strand #1

Heart: Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Head: Academic Achievement & Leadership


This workshop fits into the heart strand through decision making and goal setting. This workshop fits into the head strand through effective school leadership for Title I schools and the success stories of Title I educators.

Brief Program Description

Supervision is defined as “a critical watching and directing” (Merriam-Webster). This strong use of direction completes the act of supervision and includes a constant two-way flow of communication between supervisor and supervised. Through strategic goal setting, those supervised can position themselves with hope. In this workshop, I will discuss the key components, research base, and the education situation for Hope Theory within Supervision Theory.


The age-old story of hope within Greek mythology tells a story about how Zeus tricked Prometheus into opening a plagued box that tormented the people for years to come. The only thing remaining after the outpouring was hope (Snyder, 2010, pp. 2). A similar sense of hope can be found in everyday life – a willingness to desire. Hope can be inviting and something worth having, but it can also create harmful illusions that create undesirable outcomes (Snyder, 2010, pp. 3). A new definition of hope emerged during a “paradoxically frightening year” that brought a new assigned freedom to personal and professional development (Snyder, 2010, pp. ix).

A relatively new idea centered around the development of the future was theorized in the late 1980’s by a transitioning professor (Snyder, 2010). Hope Theory is broken into three components – goals, willpower, and way power (Snyder, 2010, pp. 5). Goals happen the moment you think about the future and consist of “any objects, experiences, or outcomes, that we imagine and desire in our minds” (Snyder, 2010, pp. 5). Willpower takes goal setting to the next level. This is the motivating factor that occurs within us that pushes us to achieve the goals set. The plan that is developed from the goals and willpower makes up the way power. By forming willpower and way power to achieve these goals, hope is created. The lack of either yields low results and the changing of goals also requires the altering of willpower. Snyder (1995, pp. 355) has used the term agency in his work to describe willpower and pathways in place of way power.

Supervision Theory can be address through three types of approaches: applied science approach, interpretive-practical approach, and critical-emancipatory approach (Glanz, 1997). These approaches determine how the relationship is organized. The applied science approach places school leaders in the supervisor seat (Glanz, 1997). The interpretive-practical approach situates the supervisor as a guide to help create a person-centered environment (Glanz, 1997). The critical-emancipatory approach encourages reflective action for those being supervised and those who are supervising (Glanz, 1997). The application of Hope Theory within the context of Supervision Theory is situated within the interpretive-practical approach. This new model of supervision is collaborative in nature, which makes it a perfect fit to helping answer educational problems that arise (Glanz, 1997).


Snyder’s development of Hope Theory has since been used in multiple fields of research. Hope Theory has been used in the environmental sciences field as a climate change agent (Chadwick, 2014, 2015). It has been used as a framework for individuals with medical needs, such as spinal cord injuries (Blake et al, 2018; Yui Chung Chan et al, 2013). It has also been used as a guide for assessing nursing students’ needs within their education and practice (Wigley, 2017). Merolla et al (2018) used Hope Theory as a baseline for constructive conflict management for adults in romantic relationships during therapy sessions. Hope Theory is also used extensively in research work in the realm of suicide and suicidal ideation (Brenner et al, 2018; Cheavens et al, 2016; Goodman et al, 2017; Grewal et al, 2007; Groos et al, 2013; Hollingsworth et al, 2016; Lovibond et al, 2014; Mitchell et al, 2015; Rudd et al, 2011; Simons et al, 2014; Vatne et al, 2018; Wright-Berryman et al, 2018). Similar work by Sellner Jr. (2017) uses poems written by those with mental disorders who find it difficult to express their emotions as a visual representation of hope theory.

Hope Theory has been used in educational settings with an emphasis on positive psychology as a tool for improving student well-being (Proctor et al, 2013). It is being used as a guiding force within higher education with mental health being the driving force for academic performance (Griggs et al, 2017). Although the theory was hypothesized to bring academic success, it was also determined that high hope led to higher risk behaviors (Griggs et al, 2017). Similar to the work done in counseling, hope theory helps academic advisors at the college and university level help prepare students for success through goal setting that works to enhance their own personal strengths (Kibby, 2015). The use of hope in this setting helped decrease attrition and fail rates while increasing student satisfaction (Kibby, 2015).

Hope Theory has also been used to shape the educational lives of younger students within South Africa, France, and North Carolina. In South Africa, literary tests and hope scales were used in comparison for primary school students (Pillay, 2017). It was determined that a significant positive relationship exists between hope and literacy (Pillay, 2017). The students who set measurable goals for themselves achieved higher on literacy tests than their peers (Pillay, 2017). It was found that simpler goals in the beginning of programming helps build students willpower which started a trajectory for way power.

Researchers in France conducted a similar study within the school system with an emphasis on physical education classes (Delas et al, 2017). A total of 2016 students participated in this one-year study and three measures of hope were recorded: Trait Hope, assessed through the Dispositional Hope Scale; State Hope, assessed through the State Hope Scale; and Perceived Ability, assessed through the Specific Perceived Ability Questionnaire (Delas et al, 2017). This research confirmed what other research studies in this field has found, but this research focused on youth development. Not only did their goals enhance performance in the physical education classes, in relation to sports, it also increased the quality of that performance (Delas et al, 2017). A major finding for this study was that State Hope, and the corresponding State Hope Scale, was a stronger predictor of the domains compared to the Dispositional Hope Scale (Delas et al, 2017, pp. 204).

In North Carolina, a faculty member at the university level and a local school educator teamed together to determine how hope can be applied in supporting students as they transition into and out of middle school (Akos et al, 2016). This research takes the theory presented and puts it into practice by using the middle school educators as support roles. As their basis, they relied on previous research that found that students with high hope at younger ages had higher levels of satisfaction later in life (Gilman et al, 2006). Akos et al (2016) suggests that a strong emphasis on goal setting during a student’s transition to middle school will help them adjust to the new changes.

Their middle school time could also be used to develop willpower and way power skills, so they are able to improve as they transition into high school. High school brings more organizational and academic challenges that student needs to overcome before graduation (Akos et al, 2016, pp. 16). By applying Hope Theory, students set goals for themselves which can help them overcome these challenges. Akos et al (2016) asserts that students can think with hope as they develop socially and emotionally (pp. 17). By addressing hope during this transition, students will be better prepared to transition into future life journeys.

Hope Theory is about goals and achieving those goals. Supervision Theory is about directing those around you. By combing these two theories, a new form of supervision is created. This supervision was designed with teachers and the relationships they possess with their instructional leaders in mind. It can be argued that “the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals, and motivate oneself via agency thinking” (Snyder, 2002) is needed in order to create spaces of optimism within Supervision Theory. With today’s evaluations, teachers are expected to know what is required of them at the local, state, and national level and need to be able to create goals based off those expectations.

Akos, P., & Kurz, M. S. (2016). Applying hope theory to support middle school transitions. Middle School Journal, 47(1), p. 13-18.

Blake, J., Yaghmaian, R., Brooks, J., Fais, C., & Chan, F. (2018). Attachment, hope, and participation: Testing an expanded model of Snyder’s hope theory for prediction of participation for individuals with spinal cord injury. Rehabilitation Psychology, 63(2), p. 230-239.

Brenner, L. A., Forster, J. E., Hoffberg, A. S., Matarazzo, B. B., Hostetter, T. A., Signoracci, G., & Simpson, G. K. Window to hope: A randomized controlled trial of a psychological intervention for the treatment of hopelessness among veterans with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 33(2).

Chadwick, C. R. (2014). Persuasive hope theory and hope appeals in messages about climate change mitigation and seasonal influenza prevention. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 75.

Chadwick, C. R. (2015). Toward a theory of persuasive hope: Effects of cognitive appraisals, hope appeals, and hope in the context of climate change. Health Communication, 30(6), p. 598-611.

Cheavens, J. S., Cukrowicz, K. C., Hansen, R., & Mitchell, S. M. (2016). Journal of clinical psychology, 72(1), p. 58-69.

Delas, Y., Lafrenicre, M.A. K., Fenouillet, F., Paquet, Y., & Martin-Krumm, C. (2017). Hope, perceived ability, and achievement in physical education classes and sports. Journal of

Goodman, M. L., Serag, H., Keiser, P. K., Raimer, B. G., & Gitari, S. (2017). Relative social standing and suicide ideation among Kenyan males: The interpersonal theory of suicide in context. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 52(10), p. 1307-1316.

Grewal, P. K., & Porter, J. E. (2007). Hope theory: A framework for understanding suicidal action. Death Studies, 31(2), p. 131-154.

Griggs, S., & Crawford, S. L. (2017). Hope, core self-evaluations, emotional well-being, health-risk behaviors, and academic performance in university freshman. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 55(9), p. 33-42.

Groos, A. D., & Shakespeare-Finch, J. (2013). Positive experiences for participants in suicide bereavement groups: A grounded theory model. Death Studies, 37(1), p. 1-24.

Hollingsworth, D. W., Wingate, LaRicka, R., Tucker, R., O’Keefe, V. M., & Cole, A. B. (2016). Hope as a moderator of the relationship between interpersonal predictors of suicide and suicidal thinking in African Americans. Journal of Black Psychology, 42(2), p. 175-190.

Kibby, M. (2015). Applying ‘hope theory’ to first year learning: A practice report. The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education, 6(1), p. 147-153.

Lovibond, P. F., & Lovibond, S. H. (2014). Depression anxiety stress scale – 21. Health and Psychosocial Instruments, 44(2), p. 175-187.

Merolla, A. J., & Harman, J. J. (2018). Relationship-specific hope and constructive conflict management in adult romantic relationships: Testing an accommodation framework. Communication Research, 45(3), p. 339-364.

Mitchell, S. M., Cukrowicz, K. C., Van Allen, J., & Seegan, P. L. (2015). Moderating role of trait hope in the relation between painful and provocative events and acquired capability for suicide. PsycARTICLES, 36(4), p. 249-256.

Pillay, J. (2018). Hope for the future and literacy achievement in a sample of impoverished South African primary school children. African Education Review, 15(2), p. 32-48.

Proctor, C., & Linley, P. A. (2013). Research, Applications, and Interventions for Children and Adolescents. Springer, Dordrecht: Springer Science.

Rudd, M. D., & Brown, G. K. (2011). A cognitive theory of suicide: Building hope in treatment and strengthening the therapeutic relationship. In K. Michel, & D. A. Jobes (Eds.), PsycBOOKS, p. 169-181. American Psychological Association.

Sellner Jr., W. F. (2017). Coloring hope theory: An auto-ethnographic sketch of pain, silent killers, and dream hope for social justice. Qualitative Inquiry, 23(8).

Snyder, C. R. (2002). Hope Theory: Rainbows in the Mind. Psychological Inquiry, 13(4), 249-275. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/1448867?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Wigley, W. (2017). Carrying hope; pre-registration nursing students’ understanding and awareness of their spiritual needs from their experiences in practice: A grounded theory study. Religions, 8(12).

Yui Chung Chan, J., Fong, C., Ditchman, N., Phillips, B., & Chih-Chin, C. (2013). Evaluating Snyder’s hope theory as a motivational model of participation and life satisfaction for individuals with spinal cord injury: A path analysis. Rehabilitation Research, Policy, & Education, 27(3), p. 171-185.

Learning Objective 1

use Hope Theory to guide decision-making processes.

Learning Objective 2

explain the importance of goal setting to teachers and/or students.

Learning Objective 3

utilize an Expanded Hope Theory Model with teachers and/or students effectively.

Keyword Descriptors

Goal setting, Hope Theory, Supervision Theory, motivation, empowerment

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-9-2022 11:15 AM

End Date

3-9-2022 12:30 PM

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Mar 9th, 11:15 AM Mar 9th, 12:30 PM

Situating Hope Theory in Supervision Theory: Increasing goal-setting skills for teachers and students

Session Nine Breakouts

Supervision is defined as “a critical watching and directing” (Merriam-Webster). This strong use of direction completes the act of supervision and includes a constant two-way flow of communication between supervisor and supervised. Through strategic goal setting, those supervised can position themselves with hope. In this workshop, I will discuss the key components, research base, and the education situation for Hope Theory within Supervision Theory.