In a world where it seems like everyone focus’s on peoples weaknesses I like to focus on people’s strengths. I spend one-on-one time with each one of my students as they demonstrate the skill I am trying to teach them and focus on everything they are doing well. I find that by verbally communicating everything they are doing well helps them to relax and their weaknesses work themselves out. I have a lot of students who at first can’t shoot a good rivet and all they can focus on is everything they are doing wrong. When I come around and observe them and only point out everything they are doing good most of the time they suddenly start shooting perfect rivets. I like to call this “The butterfly effect” because everyone gets butterflies in their stomach when they are learning something new and being graded on it. Granted this doesn’t always work and sometimes I do have to spend time working on people weaknesses. The main reason I try to focus on people’s strengths is to build confidence in the person. One of my biggest frustrations working in a manufacturing environment is that a majority of new people coming in lack the confidence in themselves to make a decision on their own. I think one of the biggest costs today is that too many people need to be working in pairs in order to get anything done because they can’t make decision without the consent/comfort of another person.
So far I have had really great results with this method and while I also encourage teamwork, I find that building a strong foundation of self-confidence is the recipe for student success.