Excerpts from Brandon Busteed, Executive Director of Gallup Education
Gallup has a silver bullet for solving many of the world’s problems. Here it is: Every student in the world, from pre-K to higher ed, needs:
- Someone who cares about their development
- To do what they like to do each day
- To do what they are best at every day
That’s it. It should be the new bill of rights for all students — and frankly, all people — worldwide.
This insight is rooted in Gallup’s most important findings — everyone in the world wants a good job, and no one ever became successful by trying to improve their weaknesses. They became great by playing to their strengths and leveraging their innate talents. These two findings have absolutely everything in common with the new bill of rights.
Imagine what the world would look like if we found a way to maximize human potential by everyone doing what they are best at every day. The impact is unfathomable.
Gallup estimates that — at most — 30% of the United State’s workforce is actively engaged in their work. We also know the outlook is pretty miserable in schools; in elementary school, engagement peaks at 76%, but then decreases each year students are in school — down to 61% in middle school and then 44% in high school. If schools focused on students’ strengths rather than their weaknesses, students would be more engaged throughout their entire education.
The excerpts above gives a real focus to the purpose of positive education and the reasons why we should pursue it at the system level. The three rights may sound like motherhood statements, but it challenges me to stop and think for a moment before every lesson I teach – Do they know that I and others at school care about them? Will they do something they like in this lesson? Will they feel the success of doing something they are good at? If 44% is reflected in Australian statistics then we each have a part to play in lifting engagement in schools and positive education practices are a great place to start.