Building Resilience in Children and Young People. Personal Strengths. Teacher Professional Development. Personal Strengths. What is a Strengths Based Approach?.
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Alvord & Grados 2005; Clonan et al. 2004; Masten, 2009; Noble & McGrath 2008; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi 2000; Waters 2011)
(Seligman et al. 2009)
Appreciation of beauty
Love of learning
*Based on Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification written by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman; Oxford University Press and the American Psychological Association, 2004
Click: VIA Survey of Character Strengths
*A child/youth version of this survey is used in the Building Resilience lessons
Accepting, Independent, Adaptable, Intelligent, Adventurous, Interested, Affectionate, Inventive, Ambitious, Joyful, Amusing, Kind, Analytical, Logical, Appreciative, Loving, Approachable, Loyal, Articulate, Motivated, Attentive, Neat, Aware, Objective, Brave, Open-Minded, Bright, Optimistic, Broadminded, Organised, Calm, Out-Going, Careful, Outspoken, Caring, Patient, Charming, People-oriented, Cheerful, Perceptive, Clever, Playful , Compassionate, Polite, Conscientious, Practical, Cool-Headed, Punctual Courageous, Realistic, Creative, Reasonable, Dedicated, Reliable, Deep, Resourceful, Definite, Respectful, Dependable, Determined, Sensible, Easy-Going, Sensitive, Efficient,Sincere, Encouraging, Sociable, Energetic, Stable, Fair, Strong, Faithful, Supportive
(Noble & McGrath 2008; Seligman 2002; Waters 2011; Linley & Harrington 2006)
Identify and describe personal strengths
Explain how these strengths contribute to family and school life
Identify ways to care for others, including ways of making and keeping friends
Identify skills and strengths they wish to develop
Describe factors that contribute to positive relationships with people at school, home and in the community
Identify communication skills that enhance relationships
Describe characteristics of cooperative behaviour and identify evidence of these in group activities
Describe the range and influence of personal qualities and strengths
Monitor their progress in consolidating their strengths
Assess the value of working independently
Make realistic assessments of their abilities and achievements and prioritise areas for improvement
Assess the extent to which individual roles and responsibilities enhance group cohesion and the achievement of objectives
Assess their strengths and challenges and devise strategies to achieve future success
Analyse personal characteristics and skill sets that contribute to their personal and social capability
Critically analyse self-discipline strategies and personal goals and consider their application in a variety of contexts
This activity is adapted from the Level 1-2 Building Resilience learning materials (Topic 2: Personal strengths, Activity 4).
Work in groups of four or five
Divide up the 24 strengths cards among the group members
Assign each group a context: school work, sporting life, family life, social life, career, leisure
Players take in in turns to place cards on the table, one strength at a time, explaining how this strength can be useful in this context, arguing for its inclusion at the ‘most-valued’ end of the spectrum
Report back and compare what the different groups found when they reflected on the strengths
Working in pairs, draw your own fish bone!
Choose a goal e.g. ‘to complete four sets of reports by x date’ . Write this goal in the fish’s head
On the backbone of the fish, write the strengths you will need to use to reach this goal (you can refer to the list)
Brainstorm all the possible steps or actions that will help you to move towards that goal, then write these on the ribs of the fish, one action or step per rib
Add some waves above and below your fish: on these you should write any of the negative forces that you may have to work against to move towards your goal
Think about any additional strengths or strategies might you need to harness to keep up the effort in the face of distractions, or resistance. Add these to the tail.