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Exploring Positive Education Methods

Why do I care about Positive Education? Positive Education is important because it helps you manage stress and improve mental health, leading to better academic performance. It enhances relationships with peers and teachers, increases motivation and engagement in learning, and teaches valuable life skills like emotional regulation and problem-solving. By focusing on your strengths, it boosts self-confidence and prepares you for future challenges. Therefore, Practicing Positive Education creates a supportive school environment, making school a more enjoyable place to learn and grow. Ultimately, it helps you thrive both in school and in life.

Activity: Below are 9 types of Positive Education Methods (PEM) used to enhance learning. Your task is to select three or more listed below and research how they are used in the classroom and why. When you have chosen your top three answer the following using the information below and reliable internet sources:

1. Who invented this method?

2. What are the benefits of this PEM?

3. What ways can it be used in education? 

Positive Education Methods (PEM)

Strengths-based approacH

The strength-based approach is an approach to people that views situations realistically and looks for opportunities to complement and support existing strengths and capacities as opposed to focusing on, and staying with, the problem or concern. The problem and the person are separate; however, the problem is never minimised. (Department of Victoria, 2012)

  • Understand that children’s learning is dynamic, complex and holistic
     

  • Understand that children demonstrate their learning in different ways
     

  • Start with what’s present—not what’s absent—and write about what works for the child.

Character education

Character education fosters individual and societal flourishing by teaching virtues like moral, intellectual, and civic virtues, and practical wisdom (Arthur, 2019). It helps students reflect on their values, develop character, and cultivate critical thinking. A spiral curriculum model engages students in continuous learning and practice (Arthur, 2019). (McCann, 2020)

  • Understand practice good morals, smart thinking, helping your community, and making wise choices.

  • Students reflect on their current values and strengths to understand what is ethically important to them and what kind of person they want to become.

  • Students think about critical decision making to aid them in making ehtical decisions.

Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness, is different from meditation, . It involves present, nonjudgmental awareness. Teaching it can start with simple tasks like counting breaths or mindful eating. The goal is not to eliminate judgment but to increase awareness of thoughts. These practices help students focus and observe their thoughts without judgment. (O'Bryan, 2022), (University of Melbourne, 2023)

  • Understand practice of being present in the moment through stillness and focus on breathing.

  • Students observe the activity of the mind, such as thoughts and feelings, to build emotional regulation, awareness and  reduce reactivity.

  • Students learn how to cultivate care, kindness and friendliness towards others and ourselves whilst enabling the recovery of past traumas, support emotional recovery and become more discerning to others/opportunities whilst remaining open.

Gratitude Exercises

Gratitude is usually shown when we feel indebted to others, when we have benefitted from their actions, and when we want to make our feelings towards them known. Benefits of gratitude exercises can aid in improve your mental and physical health, improve our social connections as well as enhance empathy and reduce aggression.  (Morin, 2014), (Oppland, 2017)

 

Through this PEM, student's work towards:

  • Understanding, and witnessing, how practicing gratitude exercises can enhance positive experiences in day-to-day activities.

  • Developing a better sense of identity, higher levels of confidence and self esteem through regular practice of gratitude exercises​.

  • Developing a ritual of practicing gratitude that enhances their wellbeing physically and psychologically.

Positive Relationships

Positive Relationships are those that have a positive influence on an individual, and can be reciprocal in nature, that allow both parties to evolve positively through wellbeing, intellect, behaviour and health. Positive relationships in schools are central to the wellbeing of both students and teachers and underpin an effective learning environment. There is now a substantial body of research highlighting the significance of connectedness in schools and the particular characteristics of in-school relationships that foster effective education. (Roffey, S. 2012). 
 

Through this PEM, student's work towards:

  • Understanding, the benefits of Positive Relationships and how this can influence multiple factors of their wellness and wellbeing

  • Discerning what relationships align and support their strengths and values, as well as which can challenge and develop them.

  • Establishing a safe and secure network of positive relationships to enable a flourishing environment.

Resilience Building Activities

Resilience is the ability to proceed through difficulty, or overcome challenges. Resilience is a quality and a skill that can be enhanced, yet requires effort and consistency. In Education Resilience Building Activities are focused on building self-awareness, discovering your Ikigai (Japanese term for life purpose) and developing reflective exercises. In saying this, Resilience is a personal journey and one that can be encouraged through activities, but is difficult to obtain, but possible to train (Doll,. 2019).

Through this PEM, student's work towards:

  • Understanding, the benefits of Resilience and how this can influence multiple factors of their wellness, wellbeing and life purpose.

  • Building the ability to spring back from challenges or set backs during tasks and journeys towards objectives. 

  • Establishing routines, practices and exercises to foster resilience building and encourage the individual to build their own flourishing environment and achieve their life purpose.

Goal setting and self-reflection

Goal setting is known to be a key to student motivation. Teachers should instruct on goal-setting and demonstrate task completion processes. Goals offer benchmarks for work assessment and feedback on competence, fostering ongoing learning motivation. Teacher encouragement boosts student motivation. Self-evaluation encourages students to explore alternative methods to achieve goals, avoiding reliance on a single ineffective approach. .  (Cunningham et al, 2000)

 

Through this PEM, student's work towards:

  • Understanding, and apply Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed (S.M.A.R.T) goals to aid with progressing in various environments of development.

  • Developing self-evaluation skills to improve progress, resilience and ability to achieve goals.

  • Building a better understanding of their learning process which further strengthens meta-cognitions.

Positive school culture and climate

 A positive school culture is an environment in which everyone at your school—that’s students, teachers, and other staff—feel respected, valued, and supported.

A positive learning climate is related to students' academic achievement and wellbeing that relates to the community, culture and values of the school. The culture and climate are equally crucial for teachers and students alike. A positive school culture not only significantly enhances teacher performance but also fosters a sense of community among teachers. This is especially vital in large schools or those where teachers might feel isolated. (Cunningham et al, 2000)

 

Through this PEM, student's work towards:

  • Understanding the purpose and framework of a School Wide Positive Behaviour and how this aids the communities culture and climate.

  • Developing strong relationships that are at the heart of a positive school culture and managing a positive school climate. This is further nurtured with student led events and rapport building events.

  • Celebrating diversity by recognising and valuing individual and cultural differences, promoting inclusivity.

Optimism and growth mindset

 Optimism and growth mindset has been proven to show significant impacts when schools have a greater focus on student’s well-being. Therefore, it is recommended that placing greater emphasis on improving a school environment to foster a setting conducive to building resilience and promoting a growth mindset. When students understand that their mindsets can be changed, this realisation can enhance their resilience, positively impacting their social skills and overall psychological well-being. (Iqbal et al, 2021)

 

Through this PEM, student's work towards:

  • Understanding the benefits of a growth mindset that enables positive learning.

  • Practicing optimism and growth mindset to not only build resilience but also build upon their social skills and wellbeing.

  • Training their mindset to be changed to be favourable to a positive trajectory that relates to core values and strengths that benefit their futuristic opportunities.

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