The Deficit-Strength Difference
The differences between deficit and strength-based thinking help to explain why efforts to improve the public schools have often been counterproductive and certainly less than sustainable. Most elected leaders and educational bureaucrats tend to view the public schools in deficit terms and seldom focus on individual and school-wide strengths. In addition, politicians and educational consultants do not believe teachers can improve the schools from the inside out. Rather, the prevailing thinking is that school improvement must be externally driven and focused on specific problems. The presentation below explains the differences between deficit-based and strength-based thinking and why a strength-based approach is more likely to bring authentic improvement to the teaching and learning process.