We Need to Help ‘Students Recognize the Brilliance They Already Have’ is the headline of my  Education Week Teacher five-part series on this very topic!

Looking at our students thought the lens of their assets, not their deficits, has been an underlying them of my teaching career, and I thought I’d bring together many of the posts I’ve written on the topic.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Examples Of Turning Problems Into Opportunities — Help Me Find More

The Best Reasons Why Parents Should Be Looked At As Allies & Not Targets Of Blame

The Best Resources On Students Having A “Purpose For Learning”

Here are posts specifically on looking at the assets of our students:

Video: New TED-Talks PBS Education Show Exceeds My Expectations & Ten Minutes Is A “Must-Watch”

Important New Study Looks At Assets, Not Deficits, Of Teen “Defiance”

Getting Organized Around Assets

A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits

Very Important New Report On Looking At ELLs Through A Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits

Study Finds Another Reason To Look At ELLs Through Lens Of “Assets”: They Are Likely To Be More Creative

Students Seeing Assets, Not Deficits, In Their Neighborhoods

Response: ‘Respecting Assets That ELLs Bring To A School Community’

Looking For Assets, Not Deficits

Focusing On Neighborhood Assets — One Of My Favorite Lessons!

A Prime Example Of English Language Learner Assets

English-Learners Are Assets, John B. King Jr. Tells Educators in Bilingual Address is from Education Week.

The Positive Impact Of English Language Learners At An Urban School

A Strength-Based Approach to Teaching ESL is from Cult of Pedagogy.

From Deficiency to Strength: Shifting the Mindset about Education Inequality is by Yong Zhao.

The “Genius” Of English Language Learners

I’m adding these two tweets (my first one is commenting on the second one) to this list:

Can a Difficult Childhood Enhance Cognition? is from The Atlantic.


The Best Reports On The New “Lost Einsteins” Study

Using Jilk’s (2016) “It was smart when…” statement to name and notice students’ mathematical strengths is from Embracing Life With Major Revisions.

New Study Finds That Teens Can Learn A New Language As Quickly As Younger Children

Making the Ethical Leap to Strengths-Based IEPs is from Middleweb.

How refugee children make American education stronger is from The Conversation.

A Great Post On Seeing Assets Instead Of Deficits

This NPR video explains one reason why we should be looking at assets:


Making Students’ Assets Our #1 Teaching Priority is by Valentina Gonzalez.

10 Ways to Value ELs’ Language Assets is from Tonya Ward Singer.


Gloria Ladson-Billings: Daring to dream in public is from The University of Wisconsin News. There’s a slide in the article titled “Flipping The Question,” which is why I’m adding this resource here.

The Deficit Lens of the ‘Achievement Gap’ Needs to Be Flipped. Here’s How appeared in Education Week.


From Deficit-Based to Assets-Based: Breaking Down the Wall One Essential Shift at a Time is by Debbie Zacarian and Diane Staehr Fenner.

3 Steps to Developing an Asset-Based Approach to Teaching is from Edutopia.

Surprise (Not)! New Study Finds Applying Asset-Based Instruction Helps Black Youth Academic Achievement

Looking Through The Lens Of Assets Works In The Classroom And…In The NBA

Trying To Bring Research, Sanity, Teacher Expertise & Student Voice To The “Learning Loss” Discussion

Important Article On “Deficit Models” In Education

Did emergent bilingual students lose a year of language while at home? is from District Administration.

Unrecognized Strengths is from Character Lab.

Experiences Are Assets: Teachers Can Help Marginalized Students Recognize Their Strengths is from Ed Week.

There’s a lot to think about in The Hechinger Report’s Why we need a proactively anti-racist scientific method.

The Many Benefits of Strengths-Based IEPs is from Edutopia.

Looking at Data Through an Equity Lens comes from ASCD Educational Leadership. I like what the authors say about looking through a “asset-based perspective” lens, which is similar to the “improvement rubric” concept I talk about in some links at The Best Rubric Sites (And A Beginning Discussion About Their Use).

Psychological interventions focused on our strengths may improve mood faster than those focused on weaknesses is from BPS Digest.

3 ways to activate your multilingual students’ superpowers is from Teach Learn Grow.