• Question: My friend is about to move to an international school in South Korea who this year are employing a 'positive psychology coach'. As I am an educator and PP is an area I have a great interest in, I was wondering if there is actually any evidence or practice of PP in an educational setting. I'm talking about explicit PP tools such as the PERMA framework, rather than mindfulness or other more 'general' strategies. I know UPenn did a study in Bhutan and other places where they introduced PP training for teachers and students, but I've no idea what the materials or approach actually 'look' like. Any pointers on this would be much appreciated.

    Asked by Abena to modkathryn on 25 May 2018.
    • Photo: Kathryn Bates

      Kathryn Bates answered on 25 May 2018:


      I’ve had a look into this and there is quite a bit of research into “positive education”, which looks at applying positive psychology frameworks/principles to developing wellbeing in schools. One recent study investigated whether the PERMA framework was applicable to measuring well-being in students at school, and they found applying it gave more detailed information about students well-being than other global scales of wellbeing. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17439760.2014.936962?needAccess=true

      There is also recent work advocating a PROSPER framework as an evidence-based framework for supporting well-being and achievement for children at school. PROSPER stands for: encouraging POSITIVITY, building RELATIONSHIPS, facilitating OUTCOMES, focusing on STRENGTHS, fostering a sense of PURPOSE, enhancing ENGAGEMENT, teaching RESILIENCE.
      This is a good paper with a really helpful infographic including each pathway and examples of school practises and structures, including things like explicit teaching of social skills and pro-social values under the building relationships pathway and encouraging being involved in community service or service learning under the fostering purpose pathway.
      https://psywb.springeropen.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s13612-015-0030-2

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