Character Strengths

I think we all know that character matters.  It’s how we make the decisions about what is important and how we spend our time.  Our character is the driving force behind how we treat people and interact with people.  What we place value on even determines what frustrates us when other people behave in ways we wouldn’t.

Students and teachers understand and can appreciate others’ quirks and strengths and even struggles in a whole new way when we understand our character strengths and values.

Last week I was lucky enough to be part of our school’s core team for The Positivity Project.

This non-profit is creating a movement using positive psychology, research on character strengths and what we know about how kids learn to create an amazing opportunity for schools to be partners in this very important work to empower students to recognize and develop their character strengths.

Mike Erwin started this work and has many elementary partner schools.  The Positivity Project is working (check out the work from schools all over by searching #OtherPeopleMatter on social media).  And now it’s time to see what this could look like in a high school.

One of the many things I love about this project is that it’s not a program.  It’s not a canned answer, scripted lessons or ideas.  Your school’s core team works to develop an idea and a plan that works for your school, while adopting the core beliefs of positive psychology. The Positivity Project has materials you can use to adapt to meet your needs.

We are going to work with Mike to figure out what this implementation in a high school looks like.  We want it to be student led and a heavy focus on how we interact with others, especially online in the social media space.  It’s so important to develop strong character so we are able to make a positive impact on this world and each other.

Being part of a team that is planning this type of work is sort of magical.  My administrators and I brought a team together of educators of all different levels of experience, across different departments and who are involved with student activities in many different ways.  Getting to spend time with some different people at these sorts of training days has the possibility to really strengthens relationships – it adds that extra dimension of really knowing someone, not just working professionally.  We were able to joke and laugh in a different environment, grab some lunch and talk and relax with each other.  Such fun and SO very important to have relationships like these with colleagues!

We also are taking the character strength assessments and sharing with each other what our top 5 character strengths are.  These strengths show what we value and what guides us in decisions we make.  It shows us where we can improve and learn to strengthen aspects of our character.  Learning this about each other is another way that we’re building relationships.  Want to take the survey?  It’s free and available here.

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