Showcasing the Positive Education Research and Initiatives in Singapore

Showcasing the Positive Education Research and Initiatives in Singapore

December 22, 2023

The fruits of various research efforts and initiatives concerning positive psychology and positive education in Singapore, as well as in other Asian countries, have been presented in a book edited by Associate Professor Ronnel King from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Dr. Imelda Caleon from the National Institute of Education (Singapore) and a member of the SPEN Strategy Team, and Professor Allan B. I. Bernardo from the De La Salle University (The Philippines). The book, which is entitled “Positive Psychology and Positive Education in Asia: Understanding and Fostering Well-Being in Schools”, has been published in October 2023 by Springer. The book comprises chapters that apply positive psychology and positive education principles to understand students’ and teachers’ flourishing and well-being.

One of the key chapters in the book was written by Dr. Caleon and colleagues: Factors and Processes That Facilitate the Development of Academic Resilience: Perspectives from Students in Singapore. The chapter presents the results of an empirical investigation on one of the central concepts in positive psychology—resilience, which reflects how individuals bounce back and adapt positively to challenges and stressors in life. Dr. Caleon’s team have conducted interviews with students who developed academic resilience. Drawing on the interviews, the authors highlight the importance of goal-directed thoughts, future-orientation, determination to pursue one’s goals, positive framing and management of failure, and strong support from significant others as key factors that are crucial in the development of academic resilience. The results of the study provide insights that can be utillised by educators and researchers to foster resilience among students that face academic challenges.

Another chapter in the book was written by Dr. Caleon and Ms. Veronica Chua. This chapter, “Towards a School Culture Where Students Thrive: The Positive Education Journey of Westwood Primary School”, details how Westwood Primary School in Singapore adopted and implemented a whole-school approach to positive education. The chapter chronicles the schools’ journey from the inception to the enactment of its well-being curriculum framework by drawing on the theory and principles of positive psychology. The perspectives of the various stakeholders were presented, including those from school leaders, teachers and students. The importance of having an on-going professional development coupled with adaptive customisation, active partnerships with stakeholders, and an empowering leadership were underscored as key enablers in implementing an effective positive education curriculum. The positive education journey of Westwood Primary School is a testament to the potential of positive education, weaved within a strong culture of collaboration and caring, to boost students’ socio-emotional wellbeing and educational outcomes.

Dr. Edwin Lim, from Hwa Chong Institution(Singapore) and a member of the SPEN Strategy Team, wrote a chapter entitled “Teacher Perspectives on Positive Education: Hwa Chong Institution’s Journey”.  He investigated the lived experiences and perspectives of teachers and teacher leaders in implementing positive education at Hwa Chong Institution. He used the qualitative longitudinal case study approach to elicit and understand the views of the participants. The results of the study demonstrate how teachers’ education practices can be influenced by the conceptualisation and implementation of positive education in schools. The study offers a theoretical framework on how positive education can be embedded into extant school programmes, culture, and practices.

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