I have a passion for strengths. I heard Marcus Buckingham speak about strengths research in 2011, and it changed my life. It sparked a drive in me that took this blog to over 9,000 followers for a time. I’ve read the books, taken StrengthsFinder 2.0 (…twice), even dropped $300 on a class for the StrengthsQuest program, even though I was unemployed at the time.
I know the theory. I love it. Let’s focus on what’s right with students, rather than what’s wrong! Let’s give them a chance to thrive! Let’s improve student engagement, academic achievement, personal well-being, empathy, and so on!
But then I’m convicted. Because now that I have my own students again, I’m discovering that I’m not great at putting it into practice. It’s easy to spout the catch phrases, but then I fall back into old habits of fixing mistakes more than playing to strengths. I did have my class do a strengths assessment, but identification without application is useless. So what am I doing on a daily basis to promote strengths? How do I teach grammar and vocabulary from a strengths-based perspective?
I’m trying harder this year, mostly through Genius Hour and class-wide collaborative projects. I’m toying with ideas for novel studies that would give them more say in their reading choices. Grammar becomes a stepping stone in the process of blogging their passions to an authentic audience, and so on. But it requires deliberate habit-changing on my part. Passionate ideas are not enough if I don’t put them into practice.