Malawian Students Enjoy Learning about Who They Are

12/26/13

It was almost too good to be true. Seniors at the International Christian Academy, COTN’s secondary school in Malawi, were told they had to take a test, but they didn’t have to study for it and there was no such thing as a wrong answer. 

 
The test is called StrengthsFinder. It’s a test that measures a person’s strongest personality traits so they can focus on using those in their careers or daily lives. The Venture Team that directed the test is hoping the results will help the students with their upcoming decisions regarding college and careers. “Having an understanding of how God has gifted them is crucial in making those life decisions,” says Holly Cunningham, the team leader and a COTN staff member. “I’m hoping this will be a tool in their toolkit for life.” 
 
The StrengthsFinder results will help them figure out how to achieve their goals
Many of the students know what they want to do when they graduate, but their StrengthsFinder results will help them figure out how to achieve their goals.
 
The students had never taken anything like a personality test before. So Holly’s husband, Mike, had his work cut out for him when he introduced the test. But it wasn’t long before he had them laughing and eager to get started. Afterward, the team sat down with each student and walked them through their own test results. “Their eyes would light up when they came to the realization, ‘Oh this is me!’” says team member Jocelyn Watkins. 
 
The team knows the results from the StrengthsFinder test can have a big impact
The team knows the results from the StrengthsFinder test can have a big impact. “It was such an eye-opening experience for me the first time I took it,” Holly says. “It helped me identify patterns of behavior or thoughts in my life.” 
 
Then the team broke the students into groups and asked them to answer this question: If you started a new business, what would it be and what role would each teammate perform according to their test results? Immediately the room began to buzz with plans and when it was time for the groups to present, the Venture Team was impressed. One group chose to start a farming business and picked out roles for each student, including a driver. Another chose to create a school like the International Christian Academy. 
 
The team was encouraged by how the students not only understood their own strengths, but wanted to use each other’s strengths as well. The students were excited and inspired by everything they learned. “This is a piece of the overall plan,” team member Don Hunter says of the test and activities. “For children to transform nations, they have to succeed.” 
 
The team is hoping the personality test will help students like Flora
The team is hoping the personality test will help students like Flora (who wants to be a lawyer) achieve their career goals.
 
Before the team left, they gave the students one final challenge—what can you do in the next thirty days with what you have learned? “God created us unique with a purpose,” says Jocelyn. “This test helps us increase in our own self-worth and ultimately increase in our contribution to the kingdom of God.” 
 
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