Empowering Learning Through Student Strengths
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The concept of “focusing on strengths” is something that I have shared in “The Innovator’s Mindset,” and dive into deeper in my next book, “Innovate Inside the Box” (Coming out in August 2019). One of the ideas that I discuss as a “Core” element is focusing on “Learner-Driven, Evidence-Informed” classrooms. This is to suggest that when we identify student strengths and help students have the ability to recognize that themselves, the experience of school will not only become more rewarding and empowering now (while still working within constraints), it will help students not only become “prepared for the future,” but create a better world now and in the future.
A few things about the picture Jeff shared:
- Finding strengths and still “doing school” does not have to be an “either-or scenario” in education. When we understand and help develop our students’ strengths and tap into them, and work the curriculum in backward from knowing your students, you can still help students find their way without ignoring the system.
- Focusing on strengths does not mean you ignore weaknesses. It means that by developing the abilities in our students where they are passionate, the things that are “harder” become more tolerable in a system where students (and adults) feel valued.
- Although we want to tap into the strengths and passions of our learners, there should be an opportunity to help expose our students to “unknowns” as well. For example, I didn’t start writing until my 30’s, but one of the reasons I love writing is because I have the opportunity to write about ideas in which I am passionate. So yes, a student might hate writing now, but if we know their strengths and tie that into the writing process, how would that help grow the process? There are so many teachers that share how they do this now, and I hope this is the same experience for my daughter in school.
This simple picture reminded how important school is in the process of developing our students, but more importantly, in empowering students to develop themselves. A simple shift to focusing on strengths can make all of the difference in the experience of school for all learners.