Developing the Whole Person
A student’s development is a journey. It’s not a number represented by grades or accomplishments, although that can be a reflection of the choices made along the journey. It’s hard to find a specific list of necessary aspects involved in educating the whole person and an even greater challenge to address even a short list. The bottom line is having a good connection between the educator and the student with a personalized focus for their journeys. This blog suggests a list that can help in the development of the whole person with examples of how to do it.
Cultivate Positive Well-Being
One important aspect of learning engagement for students is their positive well-being. Our goal is to create an environment of love, respect, and challenge. We also need to recognize what’s central to our children’s well-being taking into account their temperaments, preferences, strengths, learning styles¸ family dynamics, and circumstances.
Uplifting Education uses the "Well-Being Index (WBI)" found in our school platform. Thrively. This is a tool designed to help educators and parents collect well-being student data in the areas of physical, social, psychological and emotional. It's done systematically, directly, quickly, and in real time. Watch this video explaining the "Well-Being Index."
Education should also foster goodness, heart, and morality to foster good character and good citizenship. Schools would benefit from instilling in each student a sense of shared responsibility for creating a moral culture. The deepest motivation for moral striving arises from the heart—in particular; the heart is the source of the fundamental impulse for relatedness. It is what motivates a person to yearn for the joy of loving and being loved, the satisfaction of valuing and being valued.
Uplifting Education adopted the Discovering the Real Me curriculum that focuses on issues specifically addressed for each age group. High school youth look at the world in a more complex manner than they did in their younger years. The complexity of their developmental tasks can make these years challenging. The Discovering the Real Me curriculum presents stories and situations with themes of the development of virtues such as mutual respect, taking responsibility, developing empathy and compassion, and learning how to be productive citizens. Themes of leadership, communication and relationship skills, and preparing for life in society beyond high school are also explored.
Build Skills for Success
The Four Cs, which are communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity, are developed in our project-based learning. Communication is about sharing thoughts, questions, ideas and solutions effectively. Collaboration is about working together for a common goal and is a major advantage in life. Critical Thinking is looking at things in new ways and problem solving. Creativity is trying new approaches to be able to get things done and it incorporates the skills of innovation and invention. Communication and collaboration promote confidence. Critical thinking skills increase motivation. Creativity provides a healthy emotional outlet. The projects each year encouraged by the advisory help build skills such as: planning, organizing, motivating, coordinating, evaluating, and strategizing.
In order to educate the whole child, Uplifting Education integrates social and emotional learning (SEL) in our advisory. SEL is the process through which people acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.
The Uplifting Education playlists help implement SEL competencies relative to the student such as: self-management. relationship skills, responsible decision-making, a growth mindset, an attitude of gratitude, and a heart of respect and empathy.
Student Agency and a Strength-Based Focus
Student agency implies the student can take an active role in their learning through voice and a choice in the process. Its best to allow students to choose when and what they do while encouraging their strengths and interests. Students can feel empowered in their learning through taking responsibility, gaining confidence, and setting goals.
In Uplifting Education Advisory, student agency is supported by reflective journaling, goal setting and tracking, and collecting a powerful digital portfolio along with competency badges, awards, and certificates.
Uplifting Education's strength-based journey has the development of the whole child and the discovery of passion and purpose as a priority. Our strength-based focus empowers students by highlighting their unique blend of top strengths. We personalize instruction based on strengths, interests, and learning styles. We expose students to potential career pathways and activate student agency with vital self-knowledge.
Utilize Assessments to become Aware of Strengths, Learning Styles, Habits of Mind, and Interests
Uplifting Education Students gain self-awareness through the following assessments.
-The Strength Assessment gives an uplifting evaluation of each student’s innate strengths. It shows off the student's strengths and interests.
- The MIDAS assessment helps students to identify and understand the ways in which they best learn. It lets them see where their strengths are in 8 different categories of intelligence!
- The THOMAS Assessment helps students measure and develop effective Habits of Mind needed to tackle complex problems under challenging conditions. The 16 Habits of Mind assessment highlights their top mental, physical, emotional and social habits.
- The Interest Profiler is a valuable tool in helping students find potential career pathways that naturally align with them, based on their interests. It can help students zero in on their interests and better understand how those might best connect to the world of work.
Create a Vision for Life
The “Life Goals Approach” can help chart a clear course with purpose in our life. The first life goal is to elevate our personal strengths, skills, and maturity. It’s finding our inner harmony. The second life goal is developing loving and enriching relationships, especially in the context of our family. Our associations affect the environment we activate. The third life goal is to enhance the lives of others through our unique contributions.
Success in the third life goal needs the foundation of a mature character (first life goal) and loving relationships (second life goal). Our character can be likened to the roots of a tree. The trunk and branches of the tree symbolize our relationships with others. Our contributions to society are the fruits.
Heart is the irresistible impulse to find joy through loving and being loved (why we live). Joy is the purpose of life (what we live for). Love is the way heart can reach its goal (how we live). Ethical norms guide the focus of our love (for whom we live).
Ultimately the goal of developing heart and character is to become a person capable of altruistically loving others. As people develop their knowledge, skills, and technical expertise, they have the potential to be of enormous benefit to the larger society.
Uplifting Education's combination of engaging digital curriculum and resources can inspire students to apply, deepen, and extend their learning while encouraging their personal motivation. We strive to create an uplifting educational experience that caters to the student’s abilities and interests as well as supporting the parents as the primary educators of their children. We know that all students can develop their natural talents and become valuable contributors to society.