Positive Education: Empowering Positive Emotions

Why Positive Education?

There’s an old sentiment that parents are only as happy as their least happy child and research suggests this is often the case in families today. As much of a child’s formative years are spent at school, it’s important for parents and educators to teach students the building blocks for well-being and happiness. Not surprisingly, a growing number of Australian schools have chosen to implement Positive Education.

PERMA Framework

Professor Martin Seligman, one of the world's leading researchers in positive psychology suggests that wellbeing is cultivated by the PERMA framework: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment.

Improving Learning Outcomes

Using the PERMA Framework as our lens, research suggests implementing Positive Education contributes to student well-being and improved learning outcomes. Here are three important facts about positive education: 

  1. Increasing student’s level of engagement in their learning during their secondary school years has been demonstrated to be a predictor of improved commitment and performance in their tertiary studies. In contrast, students with lower levels of engagement were found to be at higher risk of boredom, poor learning performance and dropping out. These results suggest that improved Engagement (the ‘E’ in PERMA) makes a valuable contribution to a student’s learning;
  2. Children and adolescents with strong and supportive peer relations (the ‘R’ in PERMA) have been found to perform better academically than those without such support; and
  3. Students who use their Character Strengths, an important foundational element of Positive Education, have been found to demonstrate strong academic performance. Perseverance, fairness, gratitude, honesty, hope, and perspective have been shown to be predictive of higher end of year grades. Helping students to develop these character strengths is vitally important.

At St Peters, we are committed to Positive Education and helping our students experience a life filled with happiness, meaning and fulfilment.

Register for the St Peters Positive Education Symposium on 11 September, which aims to give parents an insight into Positive Psychology and the work of Martin Seligman with a particular focus on his PERMA model for wellbeing.

Tim Kotzur
Head of College
St Peters Lutheran College