I have been completing a number of strength and weakness charts recently. If you are interested in knowing how I do this, you may click over here.
Now, whenever I complete a chart like this, a child is ALWAYS able to identify a number of strengths. This does not surprise me.
What does surprise me, however, is the reaction of some parents when I call them to discuss the chart. I’m often asked, “Was he able to identify any strengths?” Some parents seem quite surprised that the list of strengths is so much longer than the list of weaknesses. I often feel the parent’s relief is greater than the child’s relief at realizing that there is this whole positive side too.
Which makes me wonder… when we have children who experience some kind of difficulty, do we spend so much time focusing on that difficulty that we a) totally reinforce the child’s problems for him and b) spend so much time focusing on the hard stuff that we completely forget about the good stuff?
Which makes me question… whether Special Education withdrawal lessons and differentiation into groups is always the right solution. It’s great for the high achievers – they are always the victors. But for the others, we are constantly reinforcing for them that, academically, they are nowhere near the top. Oh – there are so many positives to small groups with intense intervention and attention and some children thrive on it. Some children need it. But what message are we sending our kids? Are we telling them where they belong?
Which makes me think… Is our education system ultimately going to be responsible for making kids believe that their weakness pile of sticky notes is much higher than their strengths?
Does something need to change?