Why Use Strengths?
The Student Keys™ Program was designed to identify soft-skill strengths in young people. Many college campuses as well as corporations are embracing “strengths” as a concept to fuel “ownership” ofindividual and corporate success. The emphasis in many institutions today is to identify student and employee “strengths” then give individuals opportunities to confirm their strengths through work or class endeavors. This innovative approach to empowering people is commonly called a “strength-based” approach.
Another reason for educators to adopt strength-based programs is because higher education has typically concentrated on a remedial approach. Student assessments historically identified deficits and then programs were developed to remediate and correct the limitations of the student–focusing on their weaknesses and ignoring their strengths. Strength-based approaches to communicating, learning, motivating, and making career decisions focus upon the positive qualities of the individual and how to enhance, encourage and maximize those areas.
Educators, as well as students, have much to learn from appreciating individualized strengths. Teachers who teach to student’s individual learning strengths (i.e. natural learning preferences), may find that students are retaining more new information and increasing their understanding of the subject matter. Teachers may also find students to be more motivated to achieve and more apt to move from one year to the next as opposed to dropping out. Many college orientation programs are now using “strengths” as a core concept during the freshman first-year experience. Many schools are also adopting strengths as a theme school and campus wide.