Teacher Well-Being

Challenging the Deficit Model

Many teacher workshops and seminars are well intentioned and may be very well received. But these trainings often tend to concentrate on filling the gaps in teacher knowledge and skills. In other words, they focus on a “deficit model,” portraying teachers in crisis situations as under-educated and under-trained.

The following excerpt explains what IRC means by a "deficit model":

A “deficit model” refers to a situation that is automatically treated as a problem without consideration of the positive qualities – or potential – an individual, a situation or a place may have. The term could, for example, describe the negative attitude and assumptions that teachers may have about a quiet child in the class who never answers any questions or shows off what he or she might know.

By focusing on teachers only in terms of what they are lacking, teacher training workshops generally pay little attention to the positive strengths, skills and attitudes these men and women bring to the classroom and neglect to model a style of teaching and working with children and youth that builds on their strengths and abilities.