What is Positive Education?
Positive Education is the approach to educational practice that promotes both academic excellence as well as students’ character and well-being. Using data-driven methods backed by the science of positive psychology, the goal of positive education is to increase well-being and cultivate flourishing…within the entire school community.
By focusing on strengths and aiming to broaden and build what’s good, positive education is rooted in positive psychology and decisively demonstrates the power of changing perspective. It is a shift in focus as the whole community concentrates on topics such as well-being and life satisfaction, optimism and gratitude, character strengths and self-efficacy.
What is the History?
In 1998, renowned researcher and University of Pennsylvania Professor Martin Seligman
became president of the American Psychological Association. Although his most famous work at that point was for “learned helplessness” and depression, he switched gears to concentrate on how we might make what’s already good even better. Rather than focus on fixing what depletes us, Seligman challenged the scientific community to figure out how to build what’s best in us. He called for positive research that would aid in the establishment of positive institutions—and educational institutions were among the first to adapt.
What Have We Learned?
Small changes in the way we view our world can have a truly seismic shift in well-being. As Shipley implements positive education, we aren’t just learning about concepts like optimism, resilience, gratitude, and compassion—we’re living them.
Positive psychology is an evidence-based science that looks at what’s working well and asks how we can make it better. That’s exactly what Shipley wants for our students, and it’s how we challenge our students to change the world.
Where Will We Go Next?
Shipley is the pioneer positive education Pre-K through 12 school in North America, patterned after the Geelong Grammar School
model in Australia. In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030
, Positive Education directly links directly links to goals three and four. We are excited about the ongoing integration of our positive education and diversity and inclusion practices and will look to serve as the model positive institution for other schools who want to change the world for the better.