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25 May 2018

posted 24 May 2018, 19:50 by Carolyn Brett
Today we had our Positive Education Character Strengths Day. Character Strengths are a foundation of our wellbeing programme and they don't stop there! You will often hear them referred to when we are talking about 'academic learning' and also social learning, being part of a team, on the Miniball court, working with buddies, building resilience when things don't go your way...... the list is endless! 

You will hear them referred to in many written reports about progress and achievement, on Seesaw, on Blogs and in Newsletter pieces, in Assembly and Student Led Conferences. Soon all children will have created an "I am Powerful Plan". This plan will be what the child, teachers and, also hopefully, yourselves can refer to when they need some help to get over a hump. The more small humps they can learn to get over at primary, the better prepared they will be to get over the bigger humps, twists and turns (and wonders!) that life brings.
  
How wonderful it has also been to have some of you also opt to take the Character Strengths Online Assessment. How exciting it is when you talk to me about how you are deliberately using your strengths in the workplace or even leading sessions with teams around their character strengths.

For the past couple of years I have been asking potential employees to complete these assessments and come to interviews ready to discuss - always really interesting! As a staff, we refer to our strengths a lot and plan for ways to utilise them. Likewise, Board members strengths are recognised and referred to.

Go on - if you haven't given it a shot yet, you may be more curious now. This is the only free psychometrically valid, online test measuring the 24 Character Strengths https://www.viacharacter.org/Survey/Account/Register.

Please find a snapshot, taken from Ryan Niemiec's new book, quoted as the GO-TO book for building character, about why these signature strengths are important.

"The case can quickly be made for the significance of signature strengths from not only the science that has emerged over the last couple of decades but also from the perspective of the problem of chronic disengagement across organisations, relationships, and individuals.

Disengagement of individuals - A lack of flourishing
Less than 25% of the US population is flourishing and similar results found in New Zealand (Hone, Jarden, Duncan and Schofield, 2015)
This means people aren't functioning at a high level of wellbeing socially or psychologically
Support for strengths
Studies found that people who use their strengths a lot are over 18 more times likely to flourish than those who do not. 
Each of the core elements of flourishing - positive emotions, engagement, meaning, positive relationships and achievement (Seligman, 2011) are significantly linked to character strengths.

Disengagement of individuals - A general unawareness of strengths
Survey research has shown that 2/3 of people are unaware of their strengths. (Linley, 2008)
Support for strengths
A representative sample of New Zealand workers found that those who were highly aware of their strengths were nine times more likely to be flourishing than those who were unaware (Hone et. al, 2015)
Character strengths have been connected to engagement in numerous studies.

Similar patterns in personal relationships and disengagement of employees.

Signature strengths are emerging across domains as not only as an important source of engagement but also as a central pathway...." 

Today you witnessed strengths in action! What fab support from our parent crew - thank you! It was a fine display of the 'village' in action.
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