As part of the social emotional programming at HAFTR Middle School, seventh-grade students worked on identifying, developing, and leveraging their signature strengths in their advisory groups. The activities are based on the field of positive psychology, which has identified 24 character strengths (e.g., creativity, curiosity, persistence, integrity, love, kindness, social intelligence, leadership, humor) that individuals around the world possess.
Faculty advisers and students engaged in an interactive discussion about how every person has a number of key strengths — characteristics at which they excel. Students took time to identify their strengths, and then told a story about how they used their strengths both in a challenging situation as well as in a situation where they felt successful. Many students left advisory with a newfound appreciation for the strengths they have.
One student remarked, “It is so great that the things I am good at actually have names and are called signature strengths.” Faculty advisers will continue to check in with students throughout the year to support and develop students’ use of their unique strengths in a variety of settings and situations.
Dr. Yali Werzberger, HAFTR’s director of guidance and PPS and the program’s developer, explained, “Identifying key strengths and using them promotes self-efficacy, positive affect, self-esteem, and learning. For me, the most gratifying part of this activity was listening to other students highlight the strengths that their peers possessed, and how often they were aligned with their classmate’s self-assessment. We look forward to continuing to work on developing students’ strengths, and witness them thrive as they become more cognizant of their strengths.”