From Daniel’s Desk 27th July 2018

To the School Community

As mentioned in the Compass Post you would have received on Thursday the focus of my Blog will be about how we acknowledge students demonstrating the Character Strengths.

Receiving awards in assembly is a tradition and most schools that you visit, the students as a collective, have made it clear to the School Captains via a survey earlier this year that they value and want the awards at assembly to stay.

This topic stems from feedback the school community has given me about the perception some community members have had about awards at assembly. There was comment and some accuracy about students “voting ” for one of the Character Strength Awards issued at assembly.

Receiving this feedback initiated further investigation of the method teachers were using to select character strength awards. What I discovered was that there were varying approaches with the vast majority using methods that DID NOT  use voting as a method but did, using thoughtful and proactive methods,  include students in highlighting the Character Strengths of others.

In  summary: The discussion clearly highlighted that the students and staff were regularly on a daily basis looking for and acknowledging each others Character Strengths. The “Strength Spotting,” as we describe it, takes slightly different forms in each class. Some classes needed to review their approaches to “Strength Spotting,” the good thing was that there were so many examples of exemplary ideas  a collective view was developed across the staff to ensure “voting” could no longer be perceived as a method used to decide who received an award.

Receiving acknowledgement about the Character Strengths you display from your peers is a powerful approach. It adds value to the meaning of the acknowledgement and gives everyone an opportunity to experience positive affirmation from their community who embraces the idea as part of their culture. a comment, a note even a smile could be used to “Strength Spot.”

Acknowledgements that happen on a daily basis can be still be seen as an extrinsic motivator, but its more about the students and staff tuning into the fact that when you use the Character Strengths you feel good, that needs to be the motivator. We will continue to work on this premise and achieve it by empowering the students to recognise when others use predispositions that that have a positive impact on themselves.

I was impressed by the examples that teachers shared about the Character Strengths and “Strength Spotting” being directly linked to learning, which research tells us is the most powerful motivator. For Example – I persisted or used open mindedness to problem solve in mathematics, using creativity I was able to improve my word choice in the story I wrote, my curiosity helped me discover how the sun impacts on how plants grow.

So next time you see children acknowledged at assembly for displaying the Character Strengths it is only a small part of the big picture – No Voting Involved!

Daniel Vella


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