Spotlighting the Strengths of Every Single Student: Why U.S. Schools Need a New, Strengths-Based Approach

Spotlighting the Strengths of Every Single Student: Why U.S. Schools Need a New, Strengths-Based Approach

Spotlighting the Strengths of Every Single Student: Why U.S. Schools Need a New, Strengths-Based Approach

Spotlighting the Strengths of Every Single Student: Why U.S. Schools Need a New, Strengths-Based Approach

Synopsis

This book explains how a teaching system focused on identifying and stoking each student's strengths- rather than concentrating on deficits- can bring remarkable academic improvement and achievement.

• Contains 25 teaching strategies that are part of the strength-based program

• Offers powerful vignettes to illustrate key points

Excerpt

The strengths movement is gaining increasing momentum not only in American society but also throughout the world. the strengths philosophy recognizes the talents young people bring with them into the school learning environment, and then it helps them to further develop and apply those strengths to new challenges. the strengths approach is in stark contrast to the deficit approach to education, which is the current paradigm used in education. the deficit paradigm concentrates on what is lacking in the student, as if focusing on what a student is lacking could somehow make him or her stronger or more academically capable. in contrast, the strengths approach looks for what is right in a student—what is working rather than what is not working. This approach in education requires an entire paradigm shift—from deficit to strengths.

It may take some convincing to get educators to change from their deficit educational paradigm because it has been in existence for so very long. Gallup asked this relevant question around the world: “Which would help you to be more successful in your life, knowing what your strengths are and attempting to build on your strengths or knowing what your weaknesses are and attempting to improve your weaknesses?” Most respondents in such countries as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Japan, and China—virtually every country in Gallup’s study—said they would choose to work on their weaknesses and try to make them better rather than to work on their strengths. Yet Gallup’s studies of the top achievers in the world have revealed that they focus on applying their strengths rather than on trying to improve their weaknesses.

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