I listened to Marcus Buckingham's video about focusing on strengths, and I found it to be a great, new perspective! I guarantee that if I were given the same question about which subject needs more time out of As, Bs and an F, that I would have said that subject with the F. But from Marcus's perspective, that's not necessarily true. He thinks that more time should be spent on areas of strength instead of weakness. In a strange, probably condescending way, when I think of myself, I agree with that concept. But when I think of my students, my first reaction is to disagree, with the thought that they need to know how to do algebra. Even though I don't use it, they might, so just in case, they should learn it until they have at least a C.
I wonder how much of that thought is a result of being taught under the impression that it is very important to be well-rounded because you never know where life might take you. But then I think about specific students who may not even graduate high school because they can't pass their math test. What kind of disadvantage will they enter the world with even though they may have great welding or communication skills? What if they care about community service and helping others, but are told that if they don't pass their math and writing tests they won't graduate? How are we helping them succeed in life when we aren't building them up in areas that they are good at, and more importantly, care about?
I have had classes with students who really love the subject, and not only are they easier to teach, but the class has a completely different feel to it compared to students who are there because they have to be. There is value in doing things you don't like to do. But I think there needs to be more emphasis on encouraging students in areas of interest and success and helping them find their strengths.