Creating a Holistic Perception of Success: My Life Cake

Ahmet Canbaz, Belgin Gökçen, Ceylan Taş, Çiğdem Dengiz, Emrem Yaka, Meriç Dönmez, Seçil Arıkan, Veysel Özdemir

What was the Problem?

Students often realize their potential when they compare it to that of their peers. This attitude normalizes an eliminative and discriminator measurement-evaluation system and reinforces the perception of "competing" among students. Throughout all their lives, students think that they exist with their academic achievements. So, "How do we ensure that students feel that learning is not a competition?"


In the problem-solving process where design-oriented thinking methodology was applied, it was observed that the students described their success as a success when they compared it with the success of other students. The "My Life Cake" activity was developed to eliminate the perception of "competing" among students and to ensure that they realize their potentials through self-evaluations.

Prior to the event, the teacher prepares a "My Life Cake" agenda. The agenda contains cake slices that the student can fill according to his/her interests, abilities, needs, priorities and life. My Life Cake also contains a blank diary and an instruction about the purpose of the agenda and how to use it.

The teacher distributes the agendas and explains to the students the purpose and how to use the agenda. The students can refill the slices of the cake later whenever they want. The students are asked to write about one day in their lives by answering the questions on the agenda. The diary section provides students with a space to write down about any one day in their lives.

The students fill in the diary freely. A separate section is provided for the students to evaluate their experiences at the end of the day. The students may also ask their teachers, friends, parents or any other person to evaluate them in this section. The student may leave this section blank if he/she wants to. One-to-one interviews are held with students at certain times about "My Life Cake" and personal awareness. Two weeks later, the teacher collects the agendas. The teacher learns about the students' interests, abilities, priorities, and what is happening in their lives. The teacher also conducts individual interviews with the students to exchange ideas.

Its Effect

It was observed that the students were more aware of the factors and the stakeholders that made up their lives and they were able to evaluate themselves better. They became aware of the jobs that they need to spare more time, their priorities and many topics they were good at. They also realized that the only type of success is not the academic success, but there are other types of success as well.


Ahmet Canbaz (Turkish Language and Literature Teacher), Belgin Gökçen (Physical Education Teacher), Ceylan Taş (Classroom Teacher), Çiğdem Dengiz (Classroom Teacher), Emrem Yaka (Turkish Language and Literature Teacher), Meriç Dönmez (Psychological Counselor), Seçil Arıkan (Mathematics Teacher), Veysel Özdemir (Science Teacher)