June 12, 2023 | Harold Hare

What am I good at? Helping students see their strengths.

The interview question, “What are your greatest strengths?” seems simple enough, right? Yet, every time I’m asked this standard question I tend to start with an umm or two and then struggle to name a few things I’m decent at. Perhaps a small minority might be able to eloquently describe everything they do well. However, for the majority of us, identifying and describing our strengths is challenging.

Luckily, struggling to name and explain our strong points is, in reality, pretty common. This is because, according to Psychology Today, we often fail to see ourselves the way other people see us. For example, classmates might think Ted is fantastic at soccer, but Ted only sees that he is not as talented as Lionel Messi. Ted is stuck behind the fact that he hadn’t mastered the magic swivel of the Maradona Turn and is consumed by the frustration associated with learning this new skill rather than realizing his soccer supremity.

Similarly, our strengths tend to be the things we find easy but do not notice. For instance, Latisha always comes up with the most impressive projects in our Maker Space class. She 3D prints the most beautifully designed flowers, miniature baskets, and pen holders. When complimented on her creativity she brushes it off saying that she merely enjoys making pretty things. Consequently, she only now notices her natural creative tendencies because it was pointed out to her.

In summary, being stuck behind the emotions related to improvement and/or being inattentive to our natural abilities often leads to lousy strength identification ability. 

Helping students see their strengths

In order to identify our own strengths we often need a dedicated time and place to reflect on our abilities. With Find Your Grind’s new ‘dynamic word cloud‘ exercise, students will regularly be asked to reflect on their personal aptitudes as they work through various badges in the explore content section. The exercise will also be included at various points in the core curriculum.

This strength picker allows students to sequentially narrow down their skills until they reach their final top five strengths. 

Once their top five strengths have been identified students are presented with a comprehensive description of these strengths. The descriptions provide the needed vocabulary to articulate and understand what that strength actually means to them. After identifying their 5 strengths they can favorite their newly identified fortitudes.

Why does this matter for students?

Recognizing one’s strengths is important for interview preparation, but can also help improve a student’s confidence and ensure students realize their potential.

Moreover, knowing a student’s strengths can also greatly aid an educator’s instruction. For example, taking a strength-based learning approach helps students become more engaged, achieve great levels of happiness, improve academic performance, and lead to an effective MTSS practice.

Using a strengths-based approach, teachers can provide opportunities for students to use their talents and even allow students’ strengths to drive some choices of curricular activity. For example, maybe encourage a student who loves public speaking to create a presentation. Or guide a curious student to create a research project on a relevant class topic.

For example, use a student’s top five strengths to create a personalized learning plan by answering the following questions:

[Student’s name]’s  strengths are:__________________________.
Examples of when [student name] demonstrated these strengths:__________________________.
Activities in which this student might thrive:__________________________.
Activities in which this student might struggle:__________________________.

Are you ready to find out more about this awesome feature and the Find Your Grind curriculum? Get in touch with our team to find out more!

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