From the Head of the Crowther Centre – Dr Ray Swann
A Focus on Strengths
One aspect of the Effective Learner model is to have a focus on our strengths, rather than our weaknesses. There is an argument to suggest that we often have a negativity bias (where we seem to notice the effect of more negative things rather than positive ones). But this isn’t really that helpful; in fact, to function optimally, researchers argue that actually using our strengths is far more effective. McGrath and Noble (2015), for instance, recount that “when people work with their strengths they tend to learn more readily, perform at a higher level, are more motivated and confident, and have a stronger sense of satisfaction, mastery and competence”.
Strengths make for a great conversation with your son. What are the things he is good at? It might be reading, or sports, but it also might be something perhaps more virtuous like being kind to others, being sensitive or showing great resilience and resolve. As part of parental correction, a strengths-based approach can also be helpful: I know that you care about your sister – that’s something you always show us – how else could you approach this disagreement that you currently have with her? is one such example.
From strengths, it is possible to develop strategies, and in turn routines for your son to engage in. It can be the start of a new ‘virtuous cycle’ for him – a touchstone of experience and something that he can be known for.
If you are interested to learn more about strengths, or the PROSPER part of our model, come to a workshop or drop me a line and I can connect you to more. There is also this free survey which can help you identify strengths and begin or continue a great conversation!
Parent Workshop Program – Term 1
Tickets for the next Crowther Workshop (The Effective Learner at Home: Building Better Routines) have all been taken.
More workshops will be announced soon. Please contact the Crowther Centre for all expressions of interest for future workshops.