Want to learn about Positive Education? Here are some Opportunities

Pos_EdFirst, I’d like to point your attention to an upcoming conference: The International Positive Education Network (IPEN) will be hosting the first Festival of Positive Education in Dallas from July 18 to 20 next year. Among the speakers will be Martin Seligman, Angela Duckworth, and Anthony Seldon. For info and booking (please note there are some early-bird options) please visit this site.

Second, a couple of weeks ago a parcel reached me all the way from Australia. It contained a copy of the book Evidence-Based Approaches in Positive Education: Implementing a Strategic Framework for Well-being in Schools edited by Mathew White and Simon Murray (foreword by Martin Seligman). I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I’m sure it’s worth every penny.

Positive Psychologie in der SchuleAnd third, just in case your German: We don’t have to look to the other end of the globe for good stuff on Positive Education. Recently, Michaela Brohm and Wolfgang Endres published a book by the name of Positive Psychologie in der Schule: Die Glücksrevolution im Schulalltag. Mit 5 × 8 Übungen für die Unterrichtspraxis (Positive Psychologie at School).

Finally, I’d like to point your attention to the list of Positive Psychology papers on this site – it also contains a section on Positive Education.

Share and enjoy!

12 + 1 Articles on Positive Education (including links to PDFs)

Positive EducationI´m very happy to announce that recently, I have become an IPEN Global Representative. IPEN (International Positive Education Network) is an initiative to “bring together teachers, parents, academics, students, schools, colleges, universities, charities, companies and governments to promote positive education.” The group of Global Representatives volunteers to help IPEN to “spread the word” on Positive Education (in their respective countries of origin).

To start, I´ve compiled a list of 12 eminent research articles on Positive Education, the links will lead to the respective PDFs. Enjoy!

Bonus:

Want to be the Boss? Be Happy, Science says, and you´ll be a Good Leader

Happy BossFor a moment, think about a leadership person (a.k.a. boss) in your life that you really liked working for. How could that person be described, what kind of personality did he/she convey? Was he/she more the grumpy moaner – or rather an upbeat “Sunday´s child”?

Turns out that this question is not only about likeability but also about leadership effectiveness. In a recent meta-analysis* published in The Leadership Quarterly titled Is a happy leader a good leader? A meta-analytic investigation of leader trait affect and leadership, Dana L. Joseph and her colleagues found that – broadly speaking – happier leaders also tend to be more effective leaders. In the words of Joseph and her colleagues:

Our analyses show that leader trait affectivity, particularly leader trait positive affect, plays a significant role in predicting leadership criteria.

A happy boss is a good boss.

They also find that the relationship between leader happiness and effectiveness may not be a direct one. Rather, it seems that happy bosses predominantly engage in a special leadership style that has been coined transformational leadership. As opposed to more traditional leadership styles (telling people what to do and controlling them; management by objectives etc.), transformational leadership, according to Joseph et al., consists of the following dimensions:

  • idealized influence, or the extent to which a leader displays conviction and behaves in a way that causes followers to identify with him/her;
  • inspirational motivation, which involves communicating optimism and challenging followers to meet high standards;
  • intellectual stimulation, or the extent to which a leader takes risks, challenges assumptions, and encourages follower creativity;
  • and individualized consideration, which is characterized by follower mentoring, attending to follower needs, and listening to follower concerns.

Now, does that sound like the behavior of a boss we´d all like to work for? My answer is a clear yes. And it predominantly starts with that person´s happiness.

* A special type of study that statistically aggregates previous study results to provide an overview of a specific branch of research.

My favorite Subject in School? Happiness, of course!

If you are lucky, Positive Psychology will be coming to a school near you soon. Positive Education as part of Positive Psychology seems to be really taking off at this point in time. There is an early article by Seligman et al. (Positive education: positive psychology and classroom interventions) – but just recently, the International Positive Education Network (IPEN) was launched. According to its website, the goal of IPEN is

to bring together teachers, parents, academics, students, schools, colleges, universities, charities, companies and governments to promote positive education. Our goals are to support collaboration, change education practice and reform government policy.

On the question “Why Positive Education?” the website states:

Positive education challenges the current paradigm of education, which values academic attainment above all other goals. Drawing on classical ideals, we believe that the DNA of education is a double helix with intertwined strands of equal importance:

 

IPEN

  1. The fulfillment of intellectual potential through the learning of the best that has been thought and known.
  2. The development of character strengths and well-being, which are intrinsically valuable and contribute to a variety of positive life outcomes.

For quite a long time, Geelong Grammar School in Australia has been the hallmark of applied Positive Education. But more schools shall follow soon. Even in Germany – which typically does not pick up Positive Psychology topics that fast – has seen some Positive Education initiatives as early as 2007. We have a movement called Schulfach Glück (“School Subject Happiness”) which is backed by the “Fritz-Schubert-Institute”. They bring a positive curriculum especially to primary schools, helping teachers to teach topics to their classes such as joy and motivation, curiosity and courage, and mindfulness and respect.

By now, Fritz Schubert has authored three books on this initiative. The effectiveness of the program was recently evaluated in a study comparing classes who completed the curriculum to control groups. The treatment groups displayed higher subjective well-being and self-esteem at the end of the school year. The research article is written in German, but there´s an English abstract:

Applying a quasi-experimental pre-posttest design, we examined the effectiveness of a new teaching unit called school subject happiness. The investigation took place at two vocational schools that had established this subject in the school year 2010/11. Effects of one school year of instruction in the school subject happiness on students´ well-being, self-esteem, and self-efficacy are reported. In addition, a moderation effect of the personality traits emotional stability and extraversion was investigated. A total of 106 vocational school students who belonged either to the treatment or the control group participated in the study. At the beginning and at the end of the school year 2010/11, all students completed questionnaires. Beneficial effects were found for affective components of subjective well-being and self-esteem. Furthermore, the effects on self-esteem and cognitive components of well-being were moderated by emotional stability. Students who reported higher emotional stability benefited more from the new teaching unit. For self-efficacy no effect was found. The results are interpreted as partial effectiveness of the program.

Positive Psychology Courses: 20 Educational Chances of a Lifetime

A couple of days ago, I posted a link to a website that lists 10 exceptional courses and university programs in Positive Psychology. After that, the link went somewhat viral and the website got a lot of feedback. As a consequence, the writers were able to extend that list to 20 courses. So here you´ll find the 10 further exciting learning opportunities in Positive Psychology

PP_Programs_2