SMART Strengths: Building Character, Resilience, and Relationships in Youth

Step 1 – Adults and Students take the VIA

  • Chapter 2 suggests that you have students from 5th grade on take the student version of the VIA test. It gives examples of how teachers use results to get the most out of their students. The authors recommend that you read the test to make sure students understand each question. For younger students, you can have them look for strengths in the characters they read about and in each other. There are several specific activities you can use to develop your strengths-based curriculum.
  • The bottom line is that when we help young people know and understand each other, it can be intriguing and empowering. When staff build relationships by understanding each other’s strengths, they achieve a collective efficacy that should result in higher student achievement. It’s also likely to curb teacher turnover.
  • It is also key that young people feel and think they matter to others, which is synonymous with caring. Adults, however, cannot fake a caring attitude as young people can smell a phony. (Doug: It seems that it should be easier to like all students if you know their strengths.) Predictors of success in school include relationships with people who care and giving something back to the community.
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