Why Positive Education is taking the World by Storm

Laura at School

OK, So you may not have heard about Positive Education YET, but believe me, it’s coming to a school near you! Positive Education is an offshoot of Positive Psychology (the study of well-being) and quite simply is the application of Positive Psychology into an educational setting. It’s well researched and there’s now an amazing amount of information and studies about how it can transform schools. Positively of course!

Yes, most schools do have a well-being program or two, some even have a PBL strategy (Positive Behavior for Learning), but where Positive Education is different is it places the well-being of both students and teachers at the centre of the school system rather than on the periphery. It’s a critical shift that makes all the difference. “The fundamental goal of positive education is to promote flourishing or positive mental health within the school community.” Norrish, 2013.

Unfortunately in Australia teachers have the highest rates of occupational stress claims than any other industry. With one in nine Australian adults experiencing high levels of psychological distress, it’s essential we find a way to support teachers and help students learn the robust skills of well-being. Depression, anxiety, suicide and bullying are now common concerns of every school and with our suicide rate now close to three times the National Road toll we need to start taking action to promote mental health systemically. Positive Education is doing just that.

The framework that works best is called PERMAH, developed by Dr Martin Seligman and adapted by Schools, organisations and communities around the world.  Lake Illawarra South Public School, (where Laura is in Year 1 and Dylan will start next year) are looking to implement a Positive Education program with my help and support. The framework we’ll use is below and uses PERMAH, underpinned with both Mindfulness and Strengths. The outcome of the entire program is to build life long positive habits for both teachers and students at the school. The acronym PERMAH stands for: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Positive Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Health.

PERMAH Jodie Cooper 2017

“A school curriculum that incorporates wellbeing will ideally prevent depression, increase life satisfaction, encourage social responsibility, promote creativity, foster learning and even enhance academic achievement.”
(Waters, 2014) and that will be our aim at Lake South. Not only do we hope to promote well being, but we aim to minimise mental illness and anti social behaviors.

If you’d like to learn more here’s a simple video of how it’s being implemented and the difference Positive education is making around the world. What is Positive Education?

Positive Education can make a big difference at Lake Illawarra South Public School. We believe it will:

  • Give teachers and students skills to become more positive and promote wellbeing
  • Improve teachers and students resilience
  • Lower teacher stress and burnout
  • Increase prosocial behavior (decreasing antisocial behavior and bullying)
  • Decrease stress, anxiety and depression for both studnets and teachers
  • Increase student engagement and academic achievements
  • Strengthen character traits like hope, perseverance, creativity and leadership
  • Be a prototype school, inspiring other schools to learn pathways to Positive Education
  • Create a positive ripple effect in the community

If you’d like more information or are just keen to get involved please get in touch here. 

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