As many of you have gathered present I am on secondment and have had the privilege to visit and work with many schools while on this. In doing so I have made a list of ways schools can be made stronger by starting with strengths rather than weakness.
Reflect on our assessment practices
In our assessments, do we build on what students CAN do or do we focus more on what they cannot do? Do our assessment practices build confidence or strip it away?
It Takes a Village
Do we embrace this relationship or do we shut it out? If we shift our focus from being classroom teachers or subject teachers to school teachers, can we better tap into the strengths of other adults in our building? Students need at least 2-3 strong, positive relationships with adults in the building. These strong relationships often come with the knowledge of a student’s strengths… embrace these.
First contact about the strengths.
I reflect how often in my roles have I made tough phone calls to parents only to realize this is the first time I have made contact? I am now very conscious to make that first contact a positive one. It doesn’t have to be about something the student has done but more about sharing that we value him/her and we know who they are.
Celebrate the Strengths and Share it.
Celebrate when anyone and everyone has success. Share those stories with the community.
What are strengths of staff and the school community?
Are we embracing the strengths of the adults in our school community? Do we tap into the strengths of parents and families in the school community? The answer to the problem often sits in your own backyard. Hey lets get out there and do it. At least for the sake of the students who should be at the centre.