The science of Positive Education

What is positive education? Well it is perceived in Positive Psychology as positive emotions and attitudes derived from subjective wellbeing student’s experiences within their schooling environment. So how would we create a school environment whereby you have the opportunities to experience positive affect (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) ? . The fundamental goal of positive education is to promote flourishing or positive mental health within the school community.” (Norrish et. al., 2013).  Positive Psychology advocates that the younger years of a child are the optimal functioning period of childhood to cultivate healthy Subjective Well being habits. It goes  further  with the broaden and build model proposed by Barbara Fredrickson (2001) explores this notion by advocating upon the implementation of play/exploration thought and action repertoire behaviours within children thus promoting adaptive positive behaviours. Over a period of time a child learns to develop a range of personal resources as positive social relationships, flexiable coping behaviours and learning opportunities with many positive effect experiences builds an abundance of personal resources.

The importance of having certain acquired personal characteristics such as self esteem (Karatzias et al., 2002), academic self efficacy (Vekuyten & Thisjs, 2002) intrinsic motivation (Gilman & Anderman, 2006) hope (Huebner & Gilman, 2006) and external locus control (gilman & Anderman, 2006) have been suggested as contributing factors for students to experience optimal levels of school satisfaction. Other behavioural factors are enganging in extracurriculum activities (Gilman, 2001) building social competent skills (Eamon, 2002) and positive life experiences (Huebner and McCullough, 2000). Teacher-classroom factors that effect student life satisfaction are as followed support/structure provided to students for engagement and participation in schools (Furrer & Skinner, 2003; Wentzel, 1998) strict classroom rules cultivate school satisfaction (Baker,Dilly, Aupperlee, & Patil, 2003). In addition promotion of choice and autonomy (Karatzias et al., 2002) advocating a task-orientated

Subjective Wellbeing has been incorporated as reoccurring Positive Affect (PA) experiences such as joy, excitement and a tendency of experiencing life satisfaction within the following areas of life family life in cohersion with schooling too (Diener, Emmons, Larsen & Griffin, 1985). The notion of Positive schools has been built upon the concept of optimising Subjective Well being experiences through building and broadening (Fredrickson,2001) Positive affect emotions. This concept is implemented through play and explores activities advocating adaptive subjective wellbeing behaviours. By repeating such behaviours a collective adaptation would allow the children to build a personal range of resources thorough learning opportunities, social relationships and adaptive coping behaviours.

Collaborative professional development of practitioners

Positive Psychology practitioners can make a real difference by implementing Positive Psychology Interventions by boosting teaching staff well being and empowering institutions advocating swb by cultivating psychsocial strengths, in addition to academic learning thus allowing them to embrace wellness approaches. In positive psychology there are many action for happiness strategies that feed the overall PERMA well being model, which can be incorporated into the curriculum can be referred to as Positive well being lessons.

Where do we go with Positive Education ?

Organizations such as IPEN the international Positive Education Network is the collaboration of great minds such as Martin Seligman and Lord James O’shaughnessy advocating Positive Education. Promising positive elements were drawn from this meeting one advocating double helix model of positive education about character & wellbeing and IPEN was created to connect people over the world with great ideas, people and projects

References: Lopez, S.J & Snyder, C, R, (2011) The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, Second edition, New York, United States of America, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS.


About the author: Fizza Shah


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