The Student’s Journey Can Be Seen as a Hero’s Journey

The Power of Self-Reflection: Traveling the Hero’s Journey
A paper delivered at the 40th International conference on Improving University Teaching, Ljubljana, Slovenia
by Julie Wilans, Central Queensland University

“A simple, self-reflective tool that has been used very effectively for well over a decade in a regional Australian pre-university preparatory program (STEPS ) is the use of the metaphor of the Hero’s Journey (Vogler, 2007).
        The Hero’s Journey is a self-reflective tool that can be utilised with students as a way to ‘normalise’ the range of emotions experienced during their formal learning journey. It provides a framework that can help students make sense of personal transformation.
        Because of its universality and timeless wisdom, mythic structure has been found to be an empowering tool for developing in adult learners the reality that change and difficulty can be a transformative force in their lives. In positioning the students as the hero/heroine of their own adventure, they are enlightened with the notion that they each hold the key to unlocking their own potential.The journey of the adult learner shares a number of parallels with the hero/heroine in storytelling. It involves a call to leave the ordinary world, to experience degrees of self-doubt and fear, to experience challenge and reward and to discover inner strength. At the outset of STEPS, and throughout the duration of the program, the Hero’s Journey stages are offered to the students as a means of making sense of personal challenge and change.”

Click here to access the entire paper at

(For specific curricula, see Teaching Tools in our Hero Tools section.)

Check out other powerful hero resources at TheHeroPlace, including Hero Tools (such as StoryCraft Hero-Story Writing Software) and Hero Organizations (such as the Gallery of Heroes) as well as other Hero Wisdom (such as that of script-writing coach Skip Press). Also, search or submit to hero databases (such as hero-story databases) from around the Internet in the Your Heroes section of TheHeroPlace.

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