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How To Ignite Student-Teacher Engagement through Clifton Strengths

"Teacher, I'm lost!"

"I'm not sure I can handle this."

"Could you repeat that, please?"

Sound familiar?

As a teacher, these are phrases you've probably heard more times than you can count. With a bustling classroom of 30-40 students, it's a real juggling act to ensure everyone's on the same page, especially when each student learns in their own unique way.

It can feel overwhelming, right?

Feeling like you're in over your head?

Don't fret.

With a dash of tech wizardry and the right toolkit, you're about to become the classroom superhero you were destined to be.

Meet the CliftonStrengths Finder tool.

It's less of a cheat sheet and more of a treasure map to your students' innate superpowers. It's not about slapping on labels but unveiling the secret sauce that makes each student tick.

Perhaps Jamie's the Sherlock Holmes of math, while Ali could give TED Talk speakers a run for their money. Knowing these strengths lets you tweak your teaching style to each student's frequency.

Now, let's jazz up your teaching with the StrengthsFinder tool:

1. Leverage Your Top 5 Strengths to Elevate Your Lessons

Your strengths aren't just about what you excel at; they're a reflection of what energizes and excites you. Dive into your CliftonStrengths Top 5, and you'll get a glimpse into your teaching superpowers. If "Responsibility" is one of your strengths, you're likely the teacher who ensures every student's voice is heard. And if you've got a dash of "Woo," you probably have a knack for winning your students over, even after the occasional stern talk.

Embracing your strengths doesn't just make teaching more enjoyable; it amplifies your impact. By leaning into what you naturally do best, you can craft lessons that truly resonate and build deeper connections with your students. It's all about doing more of what you love and seeing the magic unfold.

2. Build Your Learning Experiences around your Students’ Talent Themes

Neuroscience tells us that everyone's brain dances to its own tune. A student with the "INPUT" theme is like a sponge, while one with "FOCUS" prefers laser-targeted tasks. By seasoning your lessons with a pinch of each student's strengths, you're not just teaching—you're captivating.

By appreciating the top talent themes in your class, you can alter how you deliver your learning experiences. Because by tailoring your lessons to these talents, you can ensure that you can get through to them better and unlock participation and interest.

3. Get To Know Your Students Better

Ever wondered, "Why did they do that?"

With CliftonStrengths, you've got the decoder ring.

When Emily, with her strong "Belief" theme, gives Aaron a piece of her mind, it's not just sass—it's conviction.

Perhaps it is because she has the talent theme “Belief” in her Top 5 list, that drives her to speak confidently and assuredly without restraint.

Instead of the usual "Watch your tone," try, "How can you channel that passion more positively?" It's like having a secret conversation with their strengths.

That way you are not only leveraging on her talent themes to get across to her but allowing your students to discern how they can use their talent themes to improve themselves.

4. Spotlight Student Strengths for Peer Learning

Remember Sarah, whose top talent is communicationn and can spin a story like no other? Or Muthu, with the Analytical talent, who can solve puzzles in a heartbeat?

By identifying these talents using the CliftonStrengths Finder, you can pair students together for peer learning sessions. Sarah weaves tales, while Muthu crunches numbers. It's like pairing cookies with milk—different but oh-so-delicious together. It's not just about learning; it's about celebrating the yin and yang of their strengths.

To build on this further, Imagine crafting a project where Mia's "Strategic" strength aligns with Leo's "Relator" talent. By grouping students based on complementary strengths, you're setting the stage for some truly dynamic teamwork. Not only do they get to shine in their areas of expertise, but they also learn the value of diverse strengths in achieving a common goal.

5. Integrate Strengths in Feedback Sessions

Feedback is more than just pointing out areas of improvement. With Clifton Strengths, you can deep dive into the nuances of their behaviour.

Next time you're sitting down with Noah to discuss his recent essay, highlight how his "Input" strength was evident in his detailed research. Or how Preeti’s “Adaptability” reflected how she is able to write a piece of information in varying styles.

By framing feedback around their strengths, you're providing constructive insights while also reminding them of their innate capabilities. It's a gentle nudge to keep pushing forward, using their unique strengths as a guide

It's like giving feedback with a wink and a nod to their strengths, pushing them to be their best selves.

The Clifton Strengths tool is not a final report but a beginner's guide. Understanding and appreciating your students' unique talents, ways of thinking, being and doing can give you clues on how to hit the sweet spot of engagement.

Open up conversations.

Ignite curiosity.

Rev up engagement.

And as a bonus, here's a quick cheat sheet for you to start that next conversation with your student by using the language of strengths :

Let's turn the spotlight on what truly matters in the classroom.

Your students' voice.

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