A course for children designed to enable students, teachers, and others to learn about, recognise, build upon, and use their character strengths more. Strengths Gym draws on the latest research from what is known as Positive Psychology, that is the psychology of being happy, successful, and living life to the full.
A strength is a way of thinking, feeling, or behaving that is either innate or which has developed early in life. Our strengths are our areas of greatest potential growth, the areas where we will excel. Working on your strengths is always more effective and rewarding than fixing your weaknesses and in order to fix your weaknesses effectively you need to be using your strengths.
One of the key insights of positive psychology is that we get more of what we focus on. This course looks at personal well-being from a positive perspective, providing opportunities to consider prudent and considerate behaviour, a healthy lifestyle, and good relationships. It does this through a focus on the behaviour we do want rather than on the behaviour we don’t want. In particular it allows behaviour to be looked at in the light of the strengths we already possess – and would benefit from using more.
The course provides a flexible, easy to use lesson format for ease of planning and is designed to encourage intrinsic motivation and satisfaction for students. The course has broad applications outside of education, such as clinical and therapeutic settings, and is suitable for individual and group work. The materials can also be adapted for use with various age groups and abilities. For educators within the United Kingdom, each lesson has links to the PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education): Personal well-being curriculum.
Each lesson explores one of 24 ubiquitous strengths of character or moral virtues. Each lesson contains Strengths Builders and Strengths Challenge exercises that have been designed for classroom, paired, and solitary work. We have adopted a menu format for the sessions so that you can choose activities that you feel will suit your class and ensure they have a variety of activities over the weeks. At the same time, all the activities will contribute towards a focus on the strength presented in a given session.
For ease of use and presentation in the classroom, several features of the course have been placed on the Strengths Gym web site and are to be used in conjunction with the Teachers Manual The course levels are delivered by teachers and are designed to make learners more aware of their strengths and encourage a positive outlook on life.