How asset-based programs help K-12 education
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The focus on asset-based education is growing. Often called strength-based education, this new-age approach seeks to build on the strengths that students already possess. It aims to unlock the inner potential of students by focusing on their talents.
Schools and teachers who are adopting this approach believe that asset-based teaching will create lifelong learners who are confident, talented and proactive in their path.
The traditional approach has been called the deficit-based style of teaching, which highlights students' inadequacies.
While the most-used asset-based program is discussed a lot now, it isn't new. Called Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR), it was first introduced in 1999.
It did not gain much traction in its first 10 years, but then quietly went on to impact schools. This school improvement model got consistent results in the schools where it was employed.
The founders of the program worked with all kinds of schools and demographics, creating hard evidence of what an asset-based program can do to our education system. Students have come out of it with improved performance and full confidence in their abilities to master new skills.
The results speak for themselves. BARR is the only program since 2010 to have earned multiple funding grants from the federal government.
It offers ninth-graders a holistic approach to learning and encourages a positive mentality. BARR also has an eight-pronged strategy that includes fostering a climate for learning through a special curriculum, providing professional development, having regular teacher-student meetings, creating teams of students, engaging families and administrators, and using risk review teams for students who need stronger interventions.
Teachers get to build relationships with students, help them learn, tap into their potential and encourage a better graduation rate.
One reason why the program is being widely adopted lies in its simplicity. It does not require a large-scale transformation for the school, only a time commitment from all parties involved.
Teachers, administrators, and parents work together to help students get on the right track for high school completion. They not only focus on the strengths but also identify the struggles that students are going through early on.
An American Institutes for Research (AIR) study showed that schools that use the BARR model see better academic performance. They also see fewer course failures and more courses attained.
It leads to better relationships between teachers and students, and among the students themselves. BARR schools have seen a 34.5 percent reduction in failure rate within one year of implementation.
This is why it is receiving generous federal grant funding. It will be implemented in 100 schools in 15 states by the end of this year, and the number will go up to 250 schools by 2020.
Asset-based pedagogy seeks to improve student engagement and learning. It will lead to a more relevant and meaningful curriculum for high school students. It will also prepare them for college better than they are now. They will find it easier to navigate the demands of higher education.
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