What is Positive Education and What Benefits Does It Offer?

What is Positive Education and What Benefits Does It Offer?

July 28, 2021

Positive Education is the application of the science of positive psychology and related fields within an educational setting. The theory of well-being advocated by one of the most renowned psychologists in this field, Prof Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Pennsylvania, posits six key aspects that must be present for well-being to exist in all human beings: positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, accomplishment and health (PERMAH, in short). The best schooling must include educating children on values and character, as well as how to interact well with others, set goals for themselves and work towards achieving those goals. Positive education, a movement that is gaining momentum across the world, works to create a school culture that supports caring, trusting relationships; encourage and support individuals and the community to flourish and focuses on specific skills that assist students to build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Positive education or the development of well-being and character strengths lead to more positive attitudes and dispositions among schools, no matter what stage a student’s academic attainment is at this point in time. Not only is positivity a desirable end in itself, it is also a means to other desirable ends and contributes to societal end-goals such as citizen well-being and quality of life, a compassionate and inclusive society, rootedness and commitment as well as an adaptive and resilient nation.

Over the years, there have been several myths surrounding happiness in the workplace, such as happiness in organizations encourages laziness. Contrary to these beliefs, evidence-based research demonstrates that on average, happy employees are 50% more motivated, more than twice committed and are 30% more productive than unhappy employees. Research also suggests that being happy helps workers better manage stress by lowering the blood pressure and boosting the immune system. In schools, research shows that when students are happy, they are better able to solve problems, are more open to critical thinking and reasoning, and their focus is more in tune. Another study demonstrated that life satisfaction and academic performance seem to have a reciprocal influence on each other. This means that happier students are more likely to have better grades, and better grades in turn enable students to achieve their dreams and life satisfaction. It is this evidence that has given birth to organizations like Happiness Scientists, which work with organizations to provide speaking, training and consultancy services to support happiness for leaders, employees and teams, and also work with schools to help students develop their strengths, build critical resilience skills and thrive in and beyond school.

The content above is summarized from some of the feature articles on this website.

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