This week in our Weekly Video, we asked students to tell us what they are good at–a simple question that resulted in an adorable video, one I hope you’ll all enjoy. Asking our children to talk about the things they do well is a vital conversational practice. As I shared over the summer in my letter to the community, I feel incredible conviction about an asset-oriented approach to working with young people with learning differences.
It is too often the case that our students spend the bulk of their time toiling at things that are difficult for them and, in the case of our students prior to arriving at Pilot, they spend a lot of time in environments not designed to serve their needs. An asset-oriented approach calls for educators (and parents and caregivers) to focus on strengths, and to see diversity of thoughts, traits, abilities, and backgrounds as positive assets. When we focus on what students do well, we unlock patterns of behavior that can inform the way we intervene in the things with which they struggle.
From a mental health and behavioral standpoint, paying attention to things done well breeds repetition in positive behavior. Our faculty has spent significant energy on this attention principle through their ongoing professional development with Dr. Cami Winkelspecht this year. In short, paying attention to (and praising) positive work habits is far more effective than disrupting negative behaviors. When taken together with an asset-oriented approach to learning, we see a path forward: Watch students in their element. Commend their dedication, their tenacity, their passion, their deliberate practice. And then call to mind those positive assets when they need reminding during moments of challenge in the classroom. In this way, we build off of what is already working and make students feel good along the way.
I hope you enjoy the video! So much talent lives in our community!