There is a fabulous chapter in Sue Roffey’s book, Circle Solutions for Student Wellbeing, about helping young people acknowledge and develop the positive in themselves. I love Sue Roffey’s concept of ‘emerging strengths’ and think that this could be particularly useful in our schools. It sits perfectly with developing Habits of Heart too!

As Sue Roffey says, “We need to support young people in their ‘becoming’ the person they choose to be and to help them make good choices for themselves and their communities.”

Here is a great learning activity from Circle Solutions page 33.

Post-It Pride

Students are mixed up, pair up and are given a small pack of ‘Post-It’ notes. Each person talks for one minute about something they have achieved – from passing an exam, to mending a bike, to learning an instrument or scoring a goal. As they talk, their partner identifies strengths that have gone into this achievement – such as determination, creativity, concentration and so on. They write each strength on a note and stick it on the person speaking. At the end of 2 minutes each person takes off the sticky notes, reads them and reflects on how they feel now about their achievement. They may thank their partner for noticing. This activity may need some discussion beforehand, placing strength cards in the centre of the Circle to remind students of possibilities and perhaps demonstration. Let pupils know this is a not a spelling test and the main focus should be on listening to identify strengths.

It might help to revise the Habits of Heart before you start. This would not be an exhaustive list, but a great place to start. You could identify such Habits as being patient, wise, honest and hopeful.

In addition to the Habits of Heart, consider a range of strengths as outlined by Sue Roffey. Here are just a few to help you get started.


Interpersonal Strengths Resilience Strengths Ethical Strengths Personal Strengths Ability


friendly thankful responsible creative sporting
Willing to share optimisitc honest adventurous musical
helpful determined trustworthy energetic artistic
supportive cheerful fair courageous relaxed
considerate inclusive reliable careful organised
Kind adaptable thoughtful curious imaginative

Focus on the strengths of the students in your class and see how they react.

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” Romans 14:10 NIV