An Interesting Perspective: Strength in Numbers

Howdy bloggers,

Welcome back to the second installment of series 2 of An Interesting Perspective. In this post, we will discuss the StrengthsFinder test, and determine how those results can be put to use within the classroom.

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How Do We Determine Student Strengths?

As great as the StrengthsFinder test is, it really isn’t all that applicable to a classroom setting. For starters, the test is around $20 and if you have 150 students, that quickly adds up. So, what do you do as a teacher if your school doesn’t have $3,000 for you to spend on the StrengthsFinder test?

  • Surveys – These may be the easiest and most practical alternatives. There are dozens of surveys that help determine strengths and reasoning patterns. One example, though a little different than StrengthsFinder is the Myers-Briggs test. These surveys can be extremely beneficial in discovering the strengths of your students.
  • Self Assessments – These are another great alternative. Self Assessments allow students to reflect on their past experiences to recall specific situations in which their strengths shown through. One example of this could be to have students describe a time they overcame a challenge. This would allow them to showcase their strengths while describing the event.
  • Get to know your students – Somehow we always come back to this topic. Getting to know your students is crucial. It allows you to witness their strengths, and potentially identify some of the weaknesses they have. This information allows you to help them build on their strengths.

How can I put my strengths to use in the classroom?

After taking the StrengthsFinder assessment, I learned my top five characteristics were:

  1. Deliberative – People who are especially talented in the Deliberative theme are best described by the serious care they take in making decisions or choices. They anticipate the obstacles.
  2. Adaptability – People who are especially talented in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.
  3. Responsibility – People who are especially talented in the Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.
  4. Strategic – People who are especially talented in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.
  5. Analytical – People who are especially talented in the Analytical theme search for reasons and causes. They have the ability to think about all the factors that might affect a situation.

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Out of the four strengths domains, my top five strengths fall within three different domains. This will be important when working in the classroom because it will allow me to think strategically, execute effectively, and build relationships well. Being able to use my strengths cooperatively with my students’ strengths will be critical for an effective and constructive learning environment.



  1. Billy,
    I really liked your blog post! I thought your ways to determine students strengths was great! I think that self-assessment is important in reflecting what someone is good at. It is important to understand what you are good at so that you can use those strengths to be successful. I also think that building relationships is important to find the strengths in others. Your strengths will be an asset to you as a teacher in finding students strengths! I think that your graphics did a great job of highlighting what you were trying to get across in your blog. Great job!

  2. Shay–

    I think it’s really interesting to figure out what we’re supposed to do with weaknesses. I’ve heard both sides of the debate–that we should focus on strengths instead of fixing weaknesses, and that we should focus on weaknesses instead of relying on strengths. I think both sides bring up valid points, but I personally tend to side more with the adjusting weaknesses–not trying to make them strengths, but instead trying to embrace them and work with and through them. This is something that I don’t think we could necessarily teach, but that we could model for students in the classroom by embracing our own weaknesses AND strengths.


  3. Billy,
    Awesome blog! I really liked all the graphics you used, they constantly brought attention back even if I was distracted. I like the ideas that you presented for getting to know your students and finding their strengths. Are there other ways that you could learn your students strengths?

  4. Shay,
    I think that adaptability will be especially useful in the classroom. The classroom is a very dynamic environment, and things are always happening. Being able to have flexibility within the classroom will come in handy. I’m also hopeful that it will allow my students to venture into the margins.

  5. Billy,
    I am glad you emphasized how important it is to get to know your students. Even with doing student information cards or surveys, there are things that you might not find out about your student. That is where getting to know them comes in. You might find out that they really like to waterski but their favorite sport is soccer. You wouldn’t necessarily find that out on a survey.
    Is there a strength of yours that you fell will impact you as a teacher the most?

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