Character Strengths in Education
I was approached last week by a student who was looking to take an extra qualification to boost their university application. We discussed about their current subjects and how to demonstrate to universities that they are passionate about their subject and are much more than a set of grades. The student replied to each suggestion that they were already doing this. Attending online courses related to medicine, identifying targets in their subject to maintain top grades, listening to podcasts and researching the details of the different courses within the medicine strand. All these actions I would attribute to the proactivity of the student. Proactivity is a great descriptor of what we want from students in order support their studies. A proactive student will independently look for ways to improve in subjects, they will approach teachers for support when they have reached a dead end themselves and they would always plan their study time within the school day. When I ask a student how they would like to improve a common response is to ‘work harder’ but if we look into the specifics, a student actually needs to be proactive in order to reach this aim and see an improvement in their outcomes.
Being proactive means identifying targets, researching how to improve, and then carrying out the work. This does not just relate to school but should also be applied to other areas of life too such as sports or other extra curriculars. Being proactive means approaching teachers or parents for support in this process and being fully engaged in it rather than passive. Being proactive means a student is developing skills that will one day result in them becoming an exceptional leader. This would make a good conversation starter at home to ask our children, how are you being proactive?
Assistant Headteacher – Secondary & Head- Sixth Form