Monthly Article Archives: September 2012

Searching for Strengths in the School Setting: To Enrich Dignity, Motivation, and LearningRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

Similar to previous years, this past August I had the opportunity to offer presentations at a number of schools and school districts prior to the commencement of the new school year. Although I enjoy speaking with educators at any time during the year, there is a noticeable excitement associated with colleagues seeing each other for the first time in a couple of months, being introduced to new staff, and preparing for their classes. Yet, what has become apparent is that in many public school districts this positive energy is increasingly tempered by concerns and anxieties pertaining to budgetary and financial issues, possible reductions in staff, faculty, and resources, and the need to learn and teach new core curricula that are required by state and federal mandates. In turn, these curricula are tied to standardized tests taken by students, which are used, in part, to assess teacher as well as administrator performance. As a teacher lamented after one of my presentations, “I hope I can remain focused on all of the positive parts of my work and not become as frazzled as I did last year with so many requirements that I feel actually distract me from my effectiveness as a

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