The benefits of applying character strengths in schools

The benefits of applying character strengths in schools

Every person has a combination of 24 character strengths and if developed correctly can have a significant positive impact on their lives. Research has shown that using your character strengths can help to protect against, manage and overcome problems, improve relationships and enhance health, & well-being.

Character strengths can be nurtured and developed through positive psychology, an approach that is at the core of Worth-it initiatives to improve emotional wellbeing and resilience in children and young people.  Positive Psychology is the scientific study of human strengths and flourishing and the applied approach enables individuals, communities and organisations to thrive.

Strengths can be applied in schools in order to improve emotional health, wellbeing, resilience and academic achievement and we can provide the training to do this.

What are Character Strengths?

Character Strengths are the positive parts of your personality that impact how you think, feel and behave and are the keys to you being your best self.

Following extensive character strengths research drawing knowledge from a range of sources including literature, science, philosophy and religion, Peterson and Seligman (2004) identified six universal virtues and twenty-four character strengths considered to be the foundation for developing human flourishing resulting in the introduction of the VIA classification. The VIA has become known as a guide which can robustly identify each strength and virtue.

The virtues identified are wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence: the twenty-four character strengths sit within these six virtues. When skilfully applied character strengths can actually have a significant positive impact on your life. Research shows that using your character strengths can help you:

  • Buffer against, manage and overcome problems
  • Improve your relationships
  • Enhance health and overall well-being
  • Improve work performance for pupils and adults

Strengths based approaches have been used effectively in school situations and have been evidenced to:

  • Increase life satisfaction and wellbeing (Proctor et. al 2011)
  • Engagement and Hope ( Madden, Green & Grant, 2011)
  • Self-perception of academic ability, expectancy and self-empowerment (Austin 2005)

How can Character Strengths be applied in Schools?

Our training is designed and developed to help schools (SLT’s, teachers, support staff and pupils) to learn tools and techniques for increasing their own strengths, knowledge and understanding. Our training helps students build character and resilience, to enable them to develop as well rounded individuals.

Our strengths based interventions involve:

  • Identifying your own strengths
  • Identifying lesser strengths (or weaknesses)
  • Using the strengths
  • Developing weaknesses
  • Develop new strengths
  • Learn to recognise strengths in others
  • Plan and envision their strengths use in future.

These interventions can be delivered in a number of different means, INSET days, CPD, targeted training –  depending on the needs of the individual school. Some of which are detailed as follows:

  • Whole School Approach – a multi component strategy that incorporates, motivates and empowers the whole school to promote mental wellbeing and tackle mental health issues – creating an ethos and culture of resilience and wellbeing.
  • Coaching for Teachers to tackle any specific issues related to managing stress, developing resilience and improving wellbeing for individuals or small groups of staff within schools.
  • Resilience Sessions for Students – to improve a young person’s performance in school, enhance their psychological well-being, improve engagement and create their own success in life.
  • Character Workshops for Primary– to teach children skills to develop character strengths and virtuous behaviours essential for wellbeing
  • Peer to Peer Support for Students – young people act as peer supporters and are trained and supported appropriately to help improve the mental health of other students.

Find out More about Worth-it

If you are interested in using strength based interventions to develop the resilience and emotional wellbeing of your school please contact by calling 01530 835155, emailing [email protected] or by completing our secure contact form.