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16 March 2018

posted 15 Mar 2018, 15:02 by Carolyn Brett
A few years ago, I completed  a Certification in Positive Psychology. It was fortuitous that this was available, possibly for the only time in Australasia, through the Wholebeing Institute which is US based.

The Residentials were based at Geelong Grammar School (aka GGS), south of Melbourne. It was here that I learned about what you get when you actively teach the science of wellbeing, what's commonly known as 'Positive Education'. Positive Education or affectionately known as 'Pos Ed' has been a key focus for us at WBS since this time. Many of you attended the Wellbeing Parent Workshop last year and were introduced to the GGS model, which we have also adopted.


Pos Ed has been a feature of GGS for 10 years now. To celebrate this anniversary, they have come up with a list of key discoveries they have made over the 10 years:
  1. Positive Education is more of a philosophy than a program. It is a way of living, a way of teaching, a way of dealing with mistakes, a way of nurturing a sense of belonging and a sense of community.
  2. Positive Education is an evidence-based, strengths-based, proactive, whole-school approach to nurturing individual and community wellbeing. It is the combination of these four elements which makes Positive Education innovative.
  3. Staff wellbeing is a vital ingredient to the success of Positive Education.
  4. Positive Education is helping us to educate the whole child.
  5. Whilst we believe flourishing is a combination of ‘feeling good and doing good’, we also believe it is helpful for us to think of flourishing more from a caring orientation, rather than a feeling orientation. Our goal isn’t to feel good, our goal is to do good – to care for others, to care for causes and to care for one self.
  6. Positive Education is sowing seeds for life. Some of these seeds will germinate straight away and some seeds may lie dormant for a period of time before germinating, and some seeds may never germinate. Our goal is to sow seeds generously.
  7. Borrowing a tagline from IPEN, Positive Education is not preparing students for a life of tests, but instead is preparing students for the tests of life.   
  8. Positive Education is an ongoing journey requiring the hearts, hands and minds of one’s school community. Remember to enjoy the journey.
  9. Doing Positive Education well is really hard …. and really fun! Whilst the importance of our work is vital, we can and should ensure our work around wellbeing is playful and engaging.
  10. The four cyclical and related processes of Learn, Live, Teach and Embed are critical to the success of implementing Positive Education.
  11. It is important to remember that wellbeing is both taught and caught. It is critical for us to role-model behaviours in line with wellbeing and to consider the impact our school environment is having in helping or hindering the key elements of Positive Education.
  12. Positive Education is the science of education at its best.  
This year we are very much focussed on the Positive Relationships piece, along with growth mindset, character strengths and looking more deeply into neuroscience and the brain. 

The Wellbeing team of teachers are working towards at least 2 Pos Ed days this year, which we would love you to be part of. We will ensure we get the word out in good time. Last year we had the very impressive 'Grow your Mind Day' and 'Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence Day'.

Some of you will know of the work of Professor Martin Seligman. You may have come across the book 'Flourish' or 'The Optimistic Child' amongst many of books he has authored. Martin Seligman, along  with a team from  University of Pennsylvania , have trained and worked alongside GGS in this work. WBS can benefit through their altruistic pursuits!

To hear more about this field, please find a short TED TALK by Martin Seligman.

What could we do if were 10% more deliberately using our strengths each day?

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