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Positive education

I read with interest this week an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald by John Weekes, the headmaster of Knox Grammar.

He was discussing the concept of Positive Education. Essentially, Positive Education embeds the tenets of Positive Psychology into the curriculum, both explicitly and implicitly.*

Weekes says, “Our focus on academic outcomes such as the Higher School Certificate and NAPLAN results threatens to make us factories for one-dimensional students.” He continues, “Our goal should be to produce resilient young people with broad talents and life skills.”

Positive Education activities focus on building relationships, identifying one’s strengths, goal setting, mentoring, teamwork, overcoming challenges, perseverance and how to deal with success and disappointment with the aim of increasing mental resilience and wellbeing.

And it’s not only for the students. According to Weekes, teachers at Knox are also benefitting from the program being run by Dr Suzy Green and Paula Robinson from the Positive Psychology Institute and the program’s efficacy is being studied by the University of Wollongong.

Geelong Grammar in VIC and St Pauls in SA are also leading the way in Positive Education in Australia, with the former hosting Martin Seligman a couple of years ago in order to train the Geelong staff in the philosophies of Positive Education. Many other schools and even childcare centres are following suit in and around Australia. Is yours?

*Full Disclaimer: I presented a workshop at Knox early this year as part of their staff training in Positive Education.

Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, writer and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminar at the Gold Coast. He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler



One Response to Positive education

  1. margaret thorpe says:

    I attended the Gen Next conference in Brisbane last Friday and was once again glad that I did.
    Dan Haesler spoke convincingly about the need to be better balanced in our approach.
    His key points in the virtuous cycle make sense: we need to ensure the engagement of our students, we need to care for the wellbeing of our students. Whence these are in place our students can seek their highest achievement. As he said, “flourishing students are more likely to adopt a mastery approach to learning”. Makes sense

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