Lakehead University's Dr. Ed Rawana spoke about the benefits of using a strengths-based approach in schools during Friday's book launch.
May 23, 2014 – Thunder Bay, ON
Lakehead University’s Dr. Ed Rawana and Dr. Keith Brownlee have released a book describing how educators can adopt a strengths-based approach to teaching that will help students reach their full potential inside and outside the classroom.
Entitled Reshaping School Culture: Implementing a Strengths-Based Approach in Schools, Dr. Rawana and Dr. Brownlee co-authored the book with Lakehead Public School principals Michelle Probizanski, Heather Harris and Denise Baxter.
“This book will be beneficial for anyone who works with children,” said Dr. Rawana, child and adolescent clinical psychologist, Director of the Centre of Education and Research on Positive Youth Development, and Director of Lakehead’s Graduate Clinical Psychology Program.
“One of the major recommendations is for the teacher to examine a child’s strengths along with their challenges. The teacher can then encourage the child to use these strengths to address some of the challenges that might be behavioural or academic, or both,” Dr. Rawana said.
This shift in focus can provide the added benefit of more effective classroom management. If students are aware of their strengths then they’re more likely to use them, and if teachers are aware of their students’ strengths, they can capitalize on them, he said.
“This strengths-based approach also provides an opportunity to engage parents in a positive discussion by talking to them about their child’s strengths along with their challenges. This creates a sense of partnership between the educators and the parents that can only be helpful to the student,” Dr. Rawana said.
A strengths-based approach also helps staff and students build strong relationships with each other that promote positive educational experiences.
“When educators ensure that every interaction takes into consideration the positivity students bring to the school community, students thrive, building strong relationships; and when something goes wrong, all are more ready and willing to make things right,” said Probizanski, the principal at Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute.
The book was published through Hignell Printing and launched May 23, 2014 at a workshop for teachers and principals at Sherbrooke Public School in Thunder Bay.
From the Lakehead Public School Board, Denise Baxter, middle, Michelle Probizanski, left, and Heather Harris each discussed ways a strengths-based approach in schools can help students overcome challenges.
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