The Science of Character: Using Brain Science to Raise Student Self-regulation, Resilience and Respect

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In this keynote speech, VIA Institute on Character's Chairman, Dr. Neal Mayerson describes the history and science behind the VIA character strengths, as well as the importance of focusing on character strengths in educational settings. … [Read more...]

Guide To Using the VIA Youth Survey with Children with Intellectual Disabilities

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The VIA Institute strives to make the VIA Survey and VIA Youth Survey as accessible as possible for all individuals. To this end, we partnered with researchers at the Beach Center on Disability and the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Kansas to analyze and validate our VIA Youth Survey with youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They … [Read more...]

VIA Strengths Mural

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When Michelle McQuaid was studying the Character Strengths for her Master’s Degree in Positive Psychology, she figured out a way for her young son to learn right along with her. She created a “Strengths Mural” for his bedroom, painting pictures for each of the 24 strengths on the wall. Each night before bed, they would choose a different strength to discuss. They would talk about what the strength … [Read more...]

VIA as Crochet Hook

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When Carol Kauffman was approached by a client who needed immediate help relating to students, she began with the VIA Survey. Her client was at a loss – student evaluations were low; she was considered boring; her boss wanted improvement and had suggested she may want to try to ‘just be funny’. Viewing the list of strengths, Carol was able to see that humor was near the bottom, not something her … [Read more...]

The Pyramid of Power

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After introducing his 4th grade students to the VIA Character Strengths vocabulary list, teacher Jay Sharp taught them how to build a Pyramid of Power, based on their individual strengths. Encouraging them to take some time thinking about their own strengths, Jay then asked them to choose six strengths that they related to the most. These six would become the building blocks for the pyramid of … [Read more...]

Tips to Help Teachers Have Strength-Based Meetings and Discussions

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At your next teacher meeting, try to incorporate some of these activities into the session: Share highest strengths This can involve the sharing of those strengths that were highest on the VIA Survey as well as including other strengths that the individuals believes are core to them. Share “at your best” stories Swap stories - listen to one story from a different teacher each … [Read more...]

Sustainable Strengths Camps for Kids

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When Mary Judd was asked to program a summer camp for kids at a local farm/orchard, she asked herself four questions: 1. What strengths does the farm have? 2. What strengths do I have? 3. What strengths do the kids bring to camp? 4. How can I combine these strengths to create a program with the greatest impact? These questions formed the framework for a camp filled with pleasure, … [Read more...]

The VIA Survey: The Great Discussion Starter

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The VIA Strengths Survey is often called, “The Great Discussion Starter.” I have used it often in my own life, with friends and family, as well as with many others in my work. So when I was asked to write for the VIA Story Project, I was thrilled at the opportunity to scout out and communicate great stories of Character Strengths in action. … [Read more...]