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Solutions for Core Problem #1 with Education in the United States

This article is from our series, Education Reform: A Simple Blueprint for Human-Friendly Education. For a directory of all articles in this series, click here. To get the full series in one downloadable PDF, sign-up for the free report in the black box on the right. 

Solution #3 Core Problem

 


In a previous article, I described Three Core Problems with US Education:

Core Problem #1: There is a serious motivation crisis among our students.
Core Problem #2: There is a lack of relevance in our curriculum.
Core Problem #3: We are using completely irrational and ineffective models for learning.

Within each problem, there are simple leverage points that can initiate great change without radical “restructuring” of the existing system… (The radical restructuring can come later.)


Solution for Core Problem #1: The Motivation Crisis

All we simply need to do is “change the conversation!” Instead of focusing on deficiencies and what students cannot do, we must lead with strengths. Change the conversation to “HOW are you smart?” Simple investigations into the Theory of Multiple Intelligences (see our Multiple Intelligence Quiz) open students –and schools– up to a whole new paradigm for thinking about intelligence and capabilities.

A strengths-based approach to learning creates an environment of safety. Feeling “safe” is a biological requirement of higher level learning. A strengths-based approach to learning does not mean you ignore students’ challenges or deficiencies.

Challenges are still addressed. But, when you lead with strengths, “challenges” no longer become the students’ identities. Developing a strong awareness of strengths allows students to feel accepted for who they are, not shamed for what they cannot do well or simply do not enjoy.

To experience the power of this conversation, start asking your family and closest friends, “HOW are you smart?”What is your super power?” Notice the changes in their body language and tone of voice. People light up with these questions! They sit up straighter. They lean in. Their eyes get brighter. Their voice goes higher. These changes are infectious! Imagine how these simple questions will transform the culture of your school community! I’ve seen it happen.

At first, adults are a little leery of these questions; the cultural expectation of modesty holds them back. Be prepared to share your “intelligences” and “superpowers” first to break the ice with adults. On the other hand, the only hesitation young people tend to have is simply identifying their strengths.)

This simple conversation literally transforms school cultures and creates a fertile ground for nurturing confidence!

In the next article, we’ll take a look at Solutions for Core Problem #2 with Education in the United States.

To our students’ success,

Susan Kruger Signature

 

 

Susan Kruger, M.Ed.

Education Reform: A Simple Blueprint for Human-Friendly Education

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