I’ve written about previous studies that have demonstrated that students reading about – or hearing from – others who have successfully overcome similar challenges can be a big help – see Hopeful Study On Academic Success, But I Have A Question.

A new study suggests that a visit by Michelle Obama to a school had similar results, particularly because of her “I was like you, you can be like me” message – see How Michelle Obama’s visit to a London school helped boost students’ grades.

Lots of us have speakers, including former students, come to our classes and schools to help provide some “inspiration” to our students. I certainly have found that my students are most engaged with those who communicate the “I’ve been there” message. It’s interesting to see at lease some research-based findings on the issue.

It will prompt me to be a little more explicit in my prepping speakers to emphasize that part of their talk…

Addendum: The Economist just wrote a piece about the same study.