The below story was written by Gail Cornwall and produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.
Strength-based learning is gaining traction in education systems all across the US as more districts realize the importance of personalized learning. This form of education focuses on what the individual child does well, in contrast to focusing on weaknesses. Focusing on their weaknesses can often harm a child’s self-image, making them discouraged and disengaged. Thrively supports strengths-based learning because we believe that by focusing on a child’s strengths and creating content specific to these strengths, keeps them more engaged. After taking the Thrively Strength Assessment, US News reports that elementary students in the Galt school district were able to identify his/her top strengths and experience the benefits of strength-based learning every day. According to US News,
“Students at all five of Galt’s public elementary schools take an online quiz known as a “strengths assessment” in which their sense of how much they relate to certain statements – such as, “For me, everything has to be planned” – helps identify their strengths.”
But Karen Schauer, the superintendent of Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (who lists her top strengths in her email signature) says that in her nearly 40 years as an educator, “It’s just one of the most powerful things I’ve ever been a part of.”
Most teachers who try the approach start by giving a quiz. The one Galt’s fourth-graders take comes from the CliftonStrengths Youth Explorer, a framework developed and sold by Gallup, the 82-year-old management consulting company best known for its public opinion polling. Waters uses a different list of strengths, called Values in Action, when working with educators in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. Others use strength systems designed by the British Centre of Applied Positive Psychology or by Thrively, a California-based startup.
While the number of schools using the method isn’t tallied anywhere, the number of tests taken could serve as a loose proxy for interest in it. Jon Burt, who heads Gallup’s K-12 education consulting arm, says that each year more than 1 million students in the U.S. take one of that company’s quizzes. Jillian Coppley Darwish, president of Mayerson Academy, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that advises educators, says that her organization has introduced the Values in Action framework to nearly 70 schools in the U.S., and Thrively’s president, Alex Cory, says that about 44,000 teachers across the 50 states have signed up for Thrively accounts.
We love to see personalized learning and strengths-based education expanding across the nation every day. Thrively aims to lead this pursuit in transforming the education community and the way children learn. By focusing on their strengths, children and students can find their true passions and embark on their pathway to personal development and impact. Essentially, we want to see your children or students succeed! So why not give strengths-based learning a try? Have your students or children take our Strength Assessment today and unlock their full potential.
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Today we remember and celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr., an advocate of social justice, education, and humanity. Throughout his short but impactful life, Dr. King peacefully led the progression of African American equality in the United States. Using his nonviolent protests and powerful words against racial discrimination, Dr. King propelled the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into existence, thus becoming widely regarded as a hero of US history. Beyond his success in progressing the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King’s views on education are particularly inspiring and deserve to be highlighted today and every day. Thrively looks up to Dr. King and his universal words of wisdom that inspire students, teachers, and parents alike!
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking. (Photo by Julian Wasser//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
In his most famous paper, “The Purpose of Education”, written while attending Boston University, Dr. King discusses the moral function of higher education. He believes that education should be well rounded, and that standard intelligence can only get someone so far in life. He wrote;
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
A big initiative in education today is to build students’ 4Cs (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity). Similar to Dr. King’s emphasis on critical thinking, Thrively has programs specific to building and developing this skill.
Dr. King also believes that the key to a good education is the combination of intelligence and character – which Thrively aims to achieve through personalized learning. Not only education is to learn but also learning how to learn. Dr. King argues that by learning how to be a critical thinker, students can create meaningful impact outside of the classroom. Dr. King further highlights this by connecting education and social justice, particularly how education can translate into community change. Sixty-five years later, Dr. King’s words continue to resonate with people of all ages.
As students move along the Thrively Journey, they become more self-aware through the discovery of their strengths and strengths-based learning. We hope to provide students with the roadmap and tools to be effective leaders and change-makers to shape a better tomorrow!
First off, what defines an educator?
An educator doesn’t necessarily mean a school teacher, although it can. In fact, many of the people who educate us have nothing to do with what goes on in a classroom. Parents, grandparents, older siblings, religious leaders, peers, businesspeople and coaches, just to name a few, are primary educators in the lives of students. Learning isn’t something that comes from a book, but rather something that comes from the vibrant experiences that we have in life. At Thrively we know that educators are instrumental in shaping a student’s success and building his/her character, so let us help you spot the greatest ones!
1. Have active intellectual lives
They believe in continuing to learn themselves. And while these people don’t necessarily have high SAT scores or perfect GPAs in college, they do continue improve their own learning all of the time. Powerful educators are passionate about intellectuals pursuits – be that art, poetry, science, math, whatever their interests are.
2. Are fun!
Education isn’t dry – not good education anyway. Children, and adults for that matter, connect with education that’s exciting and enriching, and makes them happy.
3. See your child for who they are
Your child is a unique individual. Great educators don’t see success as one thing, they don’t believe in the cookie cutter mold of happiness or accomplishment. These individuals encourage children to explore their interests, whatever those may be.
4. Create opportunities for learning
Learning doesn’t always take place at a desk, though it certainly can. Educators who are positive forces in the life of your child find ways to incorporate learning into everyday life. Whether that’s in the grocery store, at a baseball game, or walking through the neighborhood – learning can happen everywhere, because life isn’t limited.
5. Believe intelligence is achievable
This one is truly important. Good educators believe that intelligence is not inborn. They believe that, while there may be a genetic predisposition to it, that children can learn to be intelligent through exposure to academic content and critical thinking skills. And they believe that your child is capable to making leaps in intelligence through positive support.
Look around for the great educators in the life of your child. Seek out those individuals who possess these qualities, and encourage them to share their skills with your child!
Welcome to the Thrively blog, we are glad you stopped by! Thrively is a personalized learning platform to help parents and teachers guide K-12 students on a journey to develop their strengths, interests, and aspirations.
The content in this blog will vary, but the goal will be the same: to better understand personalized learning, including best practices, how classrooms are using Thrively, and why self-aware students are the key to a brighter future.
If you haven’t taken our Strength Assessment yet, set aside 30 minutes and try it out – either in the classroom or at home. Your students or child will immediately be given their top 5 strengths and can then start on a roadmap to personalizing his or her learning journey through courses and activities tailored to their strengths!
It’s time to Thrive. Let’s start this new learning journey today.
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We’re thrilled to be a partner of so many incredible schools pioneering personalized learning. One of those schools is Feaster Charter in Chula Vista, CA. A group of Feaster educators recently took our Thrively Strengths Assessment. Read their awesome blog here and see if it inspires you and your classroom to implement interest-based learning in the classroom.
Click here to read P21’s recent newsletter describing how Feaster Charter is using Thrively to discover students’ strengths!
Feaster Charter using Thrively in their classroom