There’s No Such Thing As Bad Students, Only Bad Teachers. True Or False?

Are teachers bad because they can’t get students to keep up with the curriculum? And are there bad students who just can’t seem to get anything done right?

To understand this, we need to take a closer look at the fundamental concept of learning. 

There are different types of learners. The way we learn determines our chances of success in our studies, businesses and  professional lives. Educators have identified seven main learning styles: visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary.

These learning styles determine the most effective way a person perceives information. 

A verbal learner prefers to gain knowledge from linguistic sources. That may come in the form of books, or lectures. Generally, verbal learners are well-equipped to thrive in classrooms or libraries. These individuals are often the top scorers in class who consistently excel in their studies compared to their peers. But does that make them better students?  Not necessarily so. 

Alternatively, an aural learner employs the use of sound and music in picking up new skills and information. They’re unlikely to thrive in a classroom environment where they’re tasked to sit through wordy examinations and coursework. These students may grow bored, perform poorly and get consequently branded as bad students. 

In truth, these are simply two different types of learners with contrasting learning styles. And both types of learners simply require different teaching approaches.

CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Talent Themes

CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) categorises strengths into 34 unique talent themes, which are further divided into 4 domains. They’re sorted this way for the easy reference of key strengths. 

The CliftonStrengths assessment helps individuals identify what they’re naturally best at. In contrast, educators who follow traditional teaching models tend to favour students with the verbal learning attribute, while neglecting the true potential of other learning styles and therefore ignoring individual talents.   

Going against the grain of natural learning styles is comparable to teaching abstract poetry to a person who prefers logical mathematical equations. Although doable, there will be resistance. More importantly, it is a poor indicator of capability. 

CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder): Teaching via Strengths Engagement

Modern educational institutions have begun focusing on the importance of specialised learning. Schools like SOTA, SST and the Singapore Sports School are developing young minds in transformational ways, all based on their natural learning style. 

The CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) tool can help further develop teaching methods by identifying the unique characteristics of an individual according to their dominant talent themes. 

Future schools may be able to develop customised curriculums that engage and fine-tune the strengths of younger students, while their learning rates are at peak level. 

For example, a student with the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) Strategic talent theme, who is naturally inclined in seeking new options, may be offered lessons that can help refine and develop their brainstorming skills.

Students with a predominant Harmony talent theme, who always seeks common ground amongst differing opinions, may be trained at improving diplomatic and mediation skills. 

The list of possibilities goes on. Ultimately, the CliftonStrengths (StrengthsFinder) method may serve as an improved teaching guideline compared to the seven learning style breakdown – since it caters to strengths on a personal level. 

The Verdict

There aren’t any bad students – since everyone has a unique range of raw talents/strengths that can be sharpened with the right approach. 

And there aren’t any bad teachers either – only educators who have engaged their strengths and those who have not explored the full extent of their potential. 


StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in identifying and maximizing their talents, in driving engagement and increasing motivation in their work and life.

If you want to learn more about the 34 talent themes or discover how you can apply your talent themes in the areas of your work and your life, feel free to reach out to us here.

A devotee at the altar of language and a celebrant of expression. Laurenzo has written for various SMEs, MNCs, startups and international brands over the last three years. He specializes in topics of psychology, lifestyle, employee management, and digital trends.

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