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Identifying and Activating Student Strengths

Identifying and activating student strengths encourages students belief in their


potential (p. 91). Experience and practice result in fortifying connections
between neurons, which makes learning using strengths more efficient (p. 92).

Teachers realize that the identified strengths of their students validate the
belief that the students do in fact have interests that have engaged them and
motivated them to learn something deeply. That inference spurs belief in the
capacity of the students to excel, rekindling teachers confidence in their ability
to inspire their students. The confidence stimulates them, motivating them to
select experiences that are enriching and teaching practices that challenge.
Believing the students have potential they can nurture also diminishes the stress
(and its debilitating hormones) teachers experience from the feelings of
incompetence of hopelessness that are precipitated by a constant focus on
weaknesses (p. 92).
Building Relationships

Students who feel connected to school (as measured by the


strength and quality of their relationships with teachers and other
students) are more likely to have: (a) improved attitudes toward
school, learning, and teachers; (b) heightened academic aspirations,
motivation, and achievement; and (c) positive social attitudes, values,
and behaviors (p. 93).
Eliciting High Intellectual Performance

Acts of high intellectual performance are intellectual acts that


involve the application of a combination of complex thinking
processes and dispositions to expand on, elaborate on, or create new
knowledge, products, or ways of doing things (p. 93).

Establishing the goal of high intellectual performance for all


students transforms instruction into pedagogy that provides mediated
enrichment to engage attention, motivate inquiry, cultivate creation of
new ways of thinking about information, and nurture competence and
confidence (p. 94).
Providing Enrichment

The key to generating high intellectual performance is mediate


enrichment that will push students to the frontier of their
intelligence (p. 95).

Gifted performance starts as interest that can be cultivated through


specific enrichment experiences, such as: (a) exposure through
exploratory activities, (b) use of training activities to promote
development of higher order thinking skills used in developing
interests, and (c) providing opportunities to apply the interests in real
inquiry or production (p. 95).
Integrating Prerequisites for Academic Learning

The sense of inability causes stress and anxiety, which triggers the
brain to release the stress hormone cortisol, which hinders students
ability to learn (p. 97).

Intelligence is dynamic, and intelligence and cognitive development


can be modified or transformed with appropriate interventions that
can serve as prerequisites for fortifying cognitive functions and
concepts necessary for learning (p. 97).
When strategies that explicitly teach cognitive skills and develop
conceptual understanding are provided as prerequisite training for
school dependent underachieving students, underdeveloped
cognitive functions are strengthened and high intellectual
performance can be manifested (p. 97).
Situating Learning in the Lives of Students

Situating the new understandings in relation to their life experiences


enables them to recognize the connections between what is being
introduced and what they already know and suppositions they have
already formulated, minimizing internal conflict and maximizing
comprehension (p. 98).

From a cognitive standpoint, a connection from academic


experiences or content to what is relevant and meaningful in students
lives captures their attention by providing the frame of reference from
which to build bridges and construct meaning (p. 98).

Educators who situate learning at the epicenter of their students


lives validate and connect to the driving impulse of their students (p.
99).

Amplifying Student Voice

Creating opportunities for authentically engaging students in


interactions with teachers where they can voice their own
perspectives and respond to the perspectives of the teachers can
provide vehicles for cognitive development as well as social
development (p. 100).
The students voices also provide windows into their frames of
reference, enabling their teachers to identify what they value and
what affects how they view the world, facilitating bridges for
relationships, lesson planning, and eliciting their strengths and
interests (p. 100).