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Positive Psychology in Education August 1, 2011

Filed under: Volunteering — polyachka @ 12:00 pm
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Assessing Signature Strengths of the Children from Multiple Perspectives

Tayyab Rashid fromValues in Action Institute, Cincinnati, US and University of Toronto Scarborough, Toronto, Canada

Good character is what parents want to cultivate in their children, what teachers attempt to impart in their pupils, what friends look for in each other. But rarely these perspectives have been integrated with child‘s self-report measures to determine a child‘s signature strengths. This study precisely did that. An entire six grade class at a public school in Toronto participated in this project. Character strengths of curiosity, forgiveness, appreciation of beauty, authenticity and honesty, love, social intelligence and zest received high convergence while modesty, perspective, self-regulation and spirituality received low convergence. Children with the help of their parents also participated in a project which actively deployed children‘s signature strengths. Results of this project are expected before this proposed presentation.

Play Your Strengths(tm) with LEGO(r) Building and discovering our strengths through narratives and LEGO models

Mads Bab from Play Your Strengths (intenz AS), Aarhus, Denmark

Introduction: LEGO bricks are combined with a theoretical foundation based on strengths psychology, appreciative inquiry, play theory and elements of narrative psychology. Participants either build their strengths as identified in the VIA Survey and if these have not yet been identified the participants build their best possible selves, and label these according to the VIA Classification of character strengths. Upon building their strengths in LEGOR participants share stories of these strengths and interact with the models as a group

Background: A constructivist approach to strengths would imply that lasting and usable knowledge of one’s top strengths is likely to happen through a construction process and not a quick labeling process alone. Th rough this construction process one builds a strong scaffold of knowledge regarding, using Linleys (2009), definition, preexisting capacities for a particular way of behaving, thinking or feeling that is authentic and energizing. Taking a narrative and metaphorical approach to strengths it can be argued that in order to understand our strengths we need to understand the strength-stories and strengths-metaphors that we have consciously and unconsciously composed over our lives. This will allow us using, Lakhoff ”s and Johnson”s (1980) words, “to more thoroughly understand how we draw inferences, set goals, make commitments, and execute plans”, but in this case on the basis of our strengths.

Play Your Strength™ has been qualitative researched as part of an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology dissertation as well as practical experience with more than 300 participants.

Participants will be introduced to data and findings from workshops and research done for dissertation from MSc in Applied Positive Psychology 2010 as well as background and theoretical references. Participants will also be given LEGO bricks and guided through a selection of the Play Your Strengths exercises.

Smart Strengths: A Model for Positive Education with Parents, Teachers and Coaches

John M Yeager1, Sherri W. Fisher2, David N. Shearon3 1Th e Culver Academies, Center for Character Excellence, Culver, US, 2Flourishing Schools, Medfield, US, 3Flourishing Schools, Nashville, US

When parents, teachers and athletic coaches form strengths based partnerships for the youth they serve, they can collectively have a significantly positive influence on students.

The workshop will provide illustrations of the S-M-A-R-T Strengths Model at three unique schools in the United States: an independent boarding school, a rural public school (where 50% of the student body are at or below the poverty line), and an underserved student population at an urban charter school. Th e S-M-A-R-T acronym stands for Spotting, Managing, Advocating, Relating, and Training strengths. The approach focuses on how adult mentors discover and act on their own strengths, so they can help youth play to their own assets, thus becoming more resilient and building high quality connections with others – at home, in school, and on the athletic fi eld. Th e following eight essential areas for successful implementation will be addressed:

1) Enabling conditions that make creating a strengths-based culture possible;

2) Incorporating a focus on strengths in the school mission;

3) Performing initial teacher training that generates buy-in and enthusiasm. In the process, the school develops a shared language for talking about strengths, which facilitates communication among teachers, athletic coaches, parents, staff , and students;

4) Using appreciative and strengths based approaches to solve cultural problems among teachers – to move from department silos to a more collaborative climate;

5) Establishing ongoing training practices to help experienced teachers lead newer teachers in the strengths based approach;

6) Helping parents learn a strengths-based approach to learning so that they can support student learning effectively at home;

7) Incorporating strengths based learning in activities performed by students moving through the elementary and secondary school grades

8) Involving alumni in the character formation of students.

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