Positive psychology, properly understood and applied, offers a tremendous opportunity for improving student and teacher experiences and the overall success of any school. The connection between education and happiness is recognised to be mutually reinforcing; education helps students to be happy and happy students gain more from education. Research has confirmed what educators have long known - that happy students typically achieve more in the classroom and exam room than unhappy students and are more energetic, persistent, creative and better able to get on with others.
Using Positive Psychology to Enhance Student Achievement is unique in translating a complex literature written by academic psychologists into a highly practical resource. The activities have been designed to provide a creative and engaging way of enabling students to discover their strengths both in terms of their cognitive abilities and `virtues', i.e. character strengths.
Throughout the programme students are introduced to the key insights of positive psychology:
the importance of being connected to others;
character training and metacognitive strategies;
positive rather than reactive thinking and habits;
developing the skills essential for building optimism and resilience;
recognising and combating negative thoughts; and
understanding that there are certain ways of thinking that can make their lives better.
Easy-to-deliver sessions with comprehensive facilitator instructions and activity resources are provided. All lessons are interactive and based on group discussions and role play to ensure that students learn more about themselves and others. Students are encouraged to practise skills and ideas that are discussed during the sessions in their everyday lives with home practice in the form of `take away' activities being a core element of the programme.
This unique resource will be of real relevance and benefit to both staff and students at upper primary and lower secondary level and will give students the tools they need to achieve their full potential.
Tina Rae is a Consultant Educational Psychologist and has a wealth of experience in working therapeutically with children and young people and their parents/carers. She is a registered member of the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) and a member of the British Psychological Society. She is currently working as a consultant EP and as an academic and professional tutor on the doctoral training course for Educational Psychologists in the department of Psychology at the University of East London. Ruth MacConville is Head of SEN Service, London Borough of Ealing, and author of a variety of books on resilience, friendship skills and well-being. She has been an invited speaker and workshop leader at a variety of national and local conferences and regularly delivers training sessions to mainstream and special schools on a variety of topics.
1. Introduction 2. Training session for staff 3. How to deliver the programme and structure of the sessions 4. The Activities 5. Guidelines for building a whole school approach to flourishing and involving parents 6. Recommended reading, references and web resources