Positive Education

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.


References


Norrish, J. M., Williams, P., O'Connor, M., & Robinson, J. (2013). An applied framework for positive education. International Journal of Wellbeing, 3(2), 147-161.


Seligman, M. E. P., Ernst, R. M., Gillham, J., Reivich, K., & Linkins, M. (2009). Positive education: positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), 293-311.


Waters, L. E. (2011). A review of school-based positive psychology interventions. The Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 28(2), 75–90.


Positive Education
 

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.


Seligman, M. E. P., Ernst, R. M., Gillham, J., Reivich, K., & Linkins, M. (2009). Positive education: positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), 293-311.


Waters, L. E. (2011). A review of school-based positive psychology interventions. The Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 28(2), 75–90.


 

Articles Published in/about the Region


Au, C. W. C., & Kennedy, K. J. (2018). A positive education program to promote wellbeing in schools: A case study from a Hong Kong school. Higher Education Studies, 8(4), 9-22.


King, R. B., Caleon, I. S., Tan, J. P. L., & Ye, S. (2016). Positive education in Asia. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 25(3), 361-365.


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.


Zhang, Y. (2016). Making students happy with wellbeing-oriented education: Case study of a secondary school in China. Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 25, 463-471.


 

School Examples


Baptist (Sha Tin Wai) Lui Ming Choi Primary School. (n.d.). Positive education. (Chinese only)


Chinese International School. (n.d.). Well-being.


Kau Yan School. (n.d.). Positive education.


Wong, C. (2021, July 2). The journey of positive education at HKUGA Primary School.


 

HKU Hub


Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (n.d.). QTN Thematic Network on promoting wellness in school.


 

Internet Resources


Websites


International Positive Education Network.


Positive Education Hong Kong.


YouTube Videos

TEDx Talks. (2018, October 18). Positive education for the 21st century - John Doran - TEDxBallyroanLibrary.


Edutopia. (2019, January 15). Creating a positive learning environment.

 

Extended Readings


Norrish, J. M., Williams, P., O'Connor, M., & Robinson, J. (2013). An applied framework for positive education. International Journal of Wellbeing, 3(2), 147-161.


Seligman, M. E. P., & Adler, A. (2018). Positive education. In J. F. Helliwell, R. Layard, & J. Sachs (Eds.), Global Happiness Policy Report 2019, 52-73.


White, M. A., & Waters, L. E. (2015). A case study of ‘The Good School:’ Examples of the use of Peterson’s strengths-based approach with students. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10(1), 69-76.

 

Disclaimer:


References in this site to any specific resources and tools are for the information and convenience of the public only. They do not constitute ownership or endorsement by ALiTE of any of the opinions offered by any corporation or organisation or individual.

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