Mandy CHAN, Lily LEI, Monaliza Maximo CHIAN, Andrew Pau HOANG
Positive education (PE) stems from intellectual currents in positive psychology that are concerned with human flourishing and the optimisation of human functioning. PE can be broadly defined as the application of ideas, concepts and principles in positive psychology to educational settings (Seligman et al., 2009; Norrish et al., 2013). Promoting PE encompasses teaching students how to cultivate happiness and well-being alongside academic achievements (Seligman et al., 2009). The essential elements of PE emphasise positive emotions, positive relationships, resilience, well-being and strength-based approaches that foreground students’ strengths and capabilities, rather than their deficits. There has been accumulating research evidence that PE can benefit schooling processes and outcomes for educational communities in local and global contexts (Waters, 2011).
Fostering PE through a school-wide positive education framework aims for targeted, positive changes across multiple domains of schooling. These include leadership and management structures, organisational cultures, policy-making, curriculum design, guidance and pastoral care, teacher-student interactions, teaching and learning processes, and after-school activities (Waters, 2011). Seligman’s PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments) model — and the later extended PERMA-H (Health) model — have been successfully implemented by numerous schools worldwide in the past decade. These models identify several elements that schools can proactively nurture and develop to increase well-being and decrease psychosocial distress. Such emphases on positive changes are aimed at building facilitative environments that enable all school community members to thrive. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of PE in schools requires informed leadership and implementation that is thoughtfully adapted to specific school contexts.
Below are some relevant and timely school examples, internet resources and scholarly contributions that raise issues, considerations, and challenges about Positive Education as we strive to promote students’ well-being and academic success.
Highly-Cited Academic Articles (Based on analysed results from Web of Science)
Ciarrochi, J., Atkins, P. W. B., Hayes, L. L., Sahdra, B. K., & Parker, P. (2016). Contextual Positive Psychology: Policy recommendations for implementing positive psychology into schools. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, Article 1561.
Kern, M., Waters, L., Adler, A., & White, M. (2015). A multidimensional approach to measuring well-being in students: Application of the PERMA framework. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10(3), 262-271.
Articles Published in/about the Region
Kwok, S. Y. C. (2021). Implementation of positive education projects in Hong Kong. In M. L. Kern & M. L. Wehmeyer (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Positive Education (pp. 705-713). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Lai, M. K., Leung, C., Kwok, S. Y. C., Hui, A. N. N., Lo, H. H. M., Leung, J. T. Y., & Tam, C. H. L. (2018). A multidimensional PERMA-H positive education model, general satisfaction of school life, and character strengths use in Hong Kong senior primary school students: Confirmatory factor analysis and path analysis using the APASO-II. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, Article 1090.
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