As a teacher myself, I always like to find things
that I can use to inspire my daughter and give her
the initiative to want to always do her best. Teach
With Your Strengths is a book about finding your strengths
in teaching and creating an environment that can appreciate
a great teacher.
There are a total of 34 Signature Themes discussed
in this book. These themes are found by taking the
Clifton Strengths Finder Test. After taking the test
and finding your strengths you are well on your way
to learning how to be the best teacher you can be.
Just to give an idea about the Signature Themes that
are discussed in this book, I will list 3 of them
and give a description of how each theme can be helpful
and how it can help you to have better habits, not
only with teaching, but in every aspect of your life.
1. Achiever - People who have a great deal of stamina
and work hard. They take great satisfaction from
being busy and productive.
2. Ideation - People who are especially talented
in the ideation theme are fascinated by ideas. They
are able to find connection between seemingly disparate
(completely different) phenomena.
3. Strategic - People who can create ways to proceed
even though faced with any given scenario at any
time, they can quickly spot relevant patterns and
By understanding that weaknesses can be built upon,
as well as the idea that strengths can knock you
down, these themes can be used to build effective
teaching methods and make learning easier for everyone.
Here is how this works -- someone who is considered
an Achiever has lots of stamina and works hard is
always great to have on the job, however, this same
person could have a weakness in that same area because
they cannot redirect their focus onto other tasks
that are just as important. A person with Ideation
would be just as great to have around because their
full of ideas and seem to have fresh thoughts on
things anytime it's necessary; however, this person
may not have good communication skills or does not
develop the ideas well. The last theme mentioned
is a Strategic theme and the person who has this
talent may be a great planner and organizer, herein
lies the weakness from that, this person gets things
too advanced with strategies and follows through
too soon without an adequate plan or amount of time.
What does one do with this information? Follow and
nurture your strengths along with someone who has
the strength that you might lack in, according to
the authors of this book. Finding balance can be
a struggle for anyone and I'd say is for most people.
This program could be extremely expensive if paired
with the Strengths Finder Test and would not be affordable
for most individuals. I would highly recommend it
if cost was not a factor.
For those who love learning and love to read about
teaching, this is a very good read. The subtitle
is "How great teachers inspire their students." This
book is not directed specifically toward home educators, but
toward classroom teachers. Many if not all of the
examples and quotes are from classroom teachers.
If you love teaching, Teach With Your Strengths will inspire, help and encourage you to find the best of who you are, and unashamedly teach with those talents.
The first couple of chapters deal with unorthodox great teacher behavior
and why it works. This chapter dispels some of the myths that we are inclined
to believe about teaching, and how these teachers reject the myths, thereby
making them great teachers. Some of the myths are:
• The more education or experience, the better the
a professional distance.
• Set high expectations.
• and many more.
They challenge the "myth" that most people can do anything
they set their minds to. The authors point out that "you
can't be world-class at everything. In fact, you may never
be more than mediocre at some things, no matter how hard
you try. Why? Because you can't have the talents to be
world-class at everything. On the other hand, you do have
the talents to do many things very well and some things
superbly. At the heart, this insight, which is the essence
of strengths psychology, is far more inspiring than the
'you can be anything you want' myth." (p.48)
That is the basis of this book.
The authors assert that it is important to understand
your talents, weaknesses, and strengths. It is the understanding
of these three qualities in your life that will help
you to be the best teacher that you can be.
After much introduction, you are sent to the website
where you are to take the "Clifton Strengths Finder" test. It is a 30 minute assessment that measures the presence of talent in 34 themes. The id code that you need to take the test is included with the book. The rest of the book deals with putting your "found" talents
to work for you. Pages 65-171 are definitions, adaptability action
items, and examples for each theme. Knowing this information
is what should help you teach with your strengths.
The last part of the book is an action plan to get you
started using the information that you just learned about
yourself. Also included in the appendix is a frequently
asked questions section, and a more information page
that has a listing of web-sites.
This is definitely a teachers book. I consider myself
a teacher at heart so I enjoyed it. But again if you
are looking for something specific to the challenges
of a home learning environment, all of the talk about "classroom" use
might be a distraction.