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Gary Pritchard Strengths Based Learning


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Gary Pritchard Strengths Based Learning

  1. 1. All Students Are Talented: Exploiting The Strengths Potential Via A New Lens For Learning And Teaching PGCertHE Gary Pritchard PhD University of Wales, Newport All materials copyright Gary Pritchard 2010
  2. 2. What Are Strengths? ‘Strengths’ in a nutshell A strengths approach assumes that people already have within them a group of talents and that these are the key to reaching high levels of personal achievement. My role as teacher then, is to:  help students identify or confirm their own strengths  help students discover how they operate  help students to use them to achieve potential  help students to draw upon their strengths to assist in areas they normally would view as weaknesses
  3. 3. Where does this originate?  Martin Seligman critiques the pathological tendency of psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi (2000) Also - see Seligman reading is this pack)
  4. 4. Research * 1955 Glock - Nebraska school study of ‘rapid reading’ project. Surprise results - students already with a capability to be gifted in this area, thrived in whatever context they were taught. * Social Welfare and strengths: individuals are able to call on personal assets and resources to help in addressing issues or problems. (Weick, Rapp, Sullivan and Kishardt (1989) Cohen (1999))
  5. 5. * Clifton & Buckingham (2001 Gallup) study of “best of The best” The Highest Achievers • Spend most of their time in their areas of strength • Have learned to delegate or partner with someone to tackle areas that are not strengths • Use their strengths to overcome obstacles • Invent ways of capitalising on their strengths in new situations
  6. 6. Strengths and HE * Higher education in the US - remediation programmes dominate approach for its undergraduate starters. * Buckingham and Clifton (2001) (develop psychometric test ‘StrengthsFinder’ for Gallup) * Clifton and Anderson (2002) make a strategic link between student motivation and the “awareness, development and application of …strengths”
  7. 7. Traditional learning philosophy: 1- Each person can learn to be competent in almost anything: “If at first you don’t succeed …” 2 - Each person’s greatest room for growth is his or her areas of greatest weakness
  8. 8. Strengths philosophy: 1- Each person’s talents are enduring and unique 2 - Each person’s greatest room for growth (or capacity) Is his or her areas of greatest strength
  9. 9.  Talent: ‘naturally’ recurring patterns of thought feeling or behaviour  Knowledge (elements you can change)  Skills (elements you can change) Combine to become: A Strength Talent + Knowledge + Skills = a Strength (Clifton & Harter, 2003) Anatomy of a Strength:
  10. 10. But What About Weaknesses? • The beauty of the strengths approach is that by developing your strengths, you have a new approach for managing your weaknesses • Apply your strengths to challenging tasks or areas in need of improvement • “Managing your weaknesses” includes: – Partnering with others – Delegating to others
  11. 11. Methods to Identify Strengths • Questions to ask yourself: – What did you learn with the greatest ease in school? – What did your teachers compliment you about? – What do your friends say they like best about you? – What was your favorite assignment? – What subjects do you enjoy studying the most? – What fascinates you? – Talk about a time in your life when you accomplished something you were proud of. • Previous successes, things that seem to come naturally, learning that occurs with little effort • Instruments specifically designed to measure strengths (EG StrengthsFinder)
  12. 12. Methods to Identify Strengths Clifton and Nelson (1992) propose that strengths can be identified by becoming attuned to four clues that confirm their existence. 1 - Specifically, these authors note that individuals are instinctively drawn to activities that will facilitate strengths utilisation, and so they advocate for people to cultivate an awareness of these types of “yearnings” (instinctive deep sense of desire to get involved) 2 - When an individual derives great satisfaction and energy from investment in an activity, experiencing a sense of engagement and timelessness called ‘flow’ (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). 3 - ‘Rapid learning’ is another sign that a strength may be at work (recall events where one learned with ease and quickly) 4 - That ‘glimpses of excellence’ (Clifton & Anderson, 1992, p. 52) are demonstrated when an individual attempts an activity that requires the use of a particular strength
  13. 13. Achiever Activator Adaptability Analytical Arranger Belief Command Communication Competition Connectedness Consistency Context Deliberative Developer Discipline Empathy Focus Futuristic Clifton StrengthsFinder 34 Themes Harmony Ideation Includer Individualization Input Intellection Learner Maximizer Positivity Relator Responsibility Restorative Self-Assurance Significance Strategic Woo
  14. 14. Results of Intervention Study What is the effect of a strengths-based intervention? (Read full study by Pritchard, 2009 as part of this pack) Self awareness -Confidence -Self concept -Self efficacy Other awareness -Perspective taking -Tolerance “Learning epiphany”
  15. 15. Student Comments “I don’t feel crazy anymore, yeah … and I kind of brought that up over the couple of days as well. I’ve considered (these attributes) very much to be weaknesses ... (in the past). I think out of all of them that (Intellection) is the one that is going to have the most impact on me, because it is quite personal. It sounds really dramatic actually this does, but it is kind of like life changing in a sense, because it has been like a burden, I feel like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders” (Olivia).
  16. 16. Student Comments “When you are going through this two day course you do feel like someone’s handing you the keys to your superpowers … And I kept thinking to myself at the time, they should rename this - it shouldn’t be now find your strengths it should be something like ‘we are all superheroes who just need to find out what your powers are’ … It is like having X ray vision because you can see things in people that perhaps they can’t see in themselves.” (Andy)
  17. 17. Student Comments “The confidence was just oozing and I was just smiling, and it was just really, really wonderful. Confidence, I have got even more confidence about my strengths and I have started to push myself even more with regards to what I can achieve …” “The (me) that has gone through the strengths class is more aware of what she is about and wanting to achieve, with a formation, with a definite chance to achievement.” (Issey)