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Positive Education: Building a Strengths Approach Session 1 Intro/ PERMA

Wellbeing has 5 measureable elements: P E R M A

Positive Emotion, of which happiness and life satisfaction are aspects Engagement Relationships Meaning Achievement What does wellbeing mean to you? Give your own definition of each of the 5 aspects of wellbeing (PERMA) demonstrated in your daily life.

Refer to Positive Psychology factsheet from the Black Dog Institute for further discussion/explanation of “PERMA”. Session 2 Flourish

The aim of any successful wellbeing program is to have students who are flourishing. To flourish, an individual needs the core features of well-being: 1. Positive emotion 2. Engagement and interest 3. Meaning and purpose …as well as 3 of the following: • • • • • •

Good self esteem Optimism Resilience Vitality Self-determination Positive relationships What would flourishing be like in a person’s life? Discussion statement: You can’t teach someone to be positive – we are who we are and nothing can change that! Or Question: Can you teach someone to be positive or are we who we are and nothing can change us?

Positive Education: Building a Strengths Approach Session 3 Wellbeing/ Happiness

In Positive Psychology: • • •

Wellbeing has taken centre stage Happiness is part of the bigger picture of wellbeing Flourishing is the outcome of wellbeing The terms wellbeing, happiness and flourishing are interchangeable, with the understanding that it is the quality of our inner life rather than materialism that makes us truly happy.

What you can do to “get” wellbeing: • • • • •

Increase positive emotions Reduce the impact of negative emotions Connect to other people Change the subject: think about others rather than ourselves and engage in purposeful activity Find meaning in one’s own life Discussion statement: It is money and possessions that make us happy and no amount of positive thinking is better than having lots of money. OR Question: Is it money and possessions that make us happy or can positive thinking be better than money?

Take “The Happiness Test”: Link available from: Session 4

List some positive emotions. (eg pride, joy)

Losada Ratio

List some negative emotions. (eg fear, anger) ‘Positivity’ triggers a sparkle of good feelings that awakens an individual’s inspiration and motivation to change. Positivity refers to emotions such as gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, amusement, awe, inspiration and love. Losada Ratio: the ratio of a persons Positive thoughts to Negative thoughts. Researchers claim that if we can achieve 3 positive thoughts for every negative thought then our task performance will increase. Even having more positive than negative thoughts will increase our emotional wellbeing. Consider some of the positive emotions listed. What behaviours result from these feelings? For example: Joy leads us to be more playful, serenity allows use to be more present in the moment, interest leads us to explore.

Positive Education: Building a Strengths Approach Session 5



Engagement and Flow are closely linked. Flow is a term started by a Russian psychologist called Mike Csikzentmihalyi (pronounced: cheeks-sent-me-high). It refers to the state we achieve when we are completely engrossed in an activity in which we are performing at our best. Flow is about engagement in absorbing and purposeful activities that make us forget time. When we are in Flow: • • • • • • • •

we are involved in tasks that we have a good chance of completing we are able to fully concentrate on the activity the task has clear goals the task provides immediate feedback on how we are doing our involvement in the task is deep but effortless, and takes away from the frustrations and worries of the day we have a sense of being able to have control over our actions concerns for the self disappear, but our sense of self is stronger after the event we lose our usual sense of time.

Flow is different from pleasure because Flow activities are demanding and take up all our attention and concentration. Pleasure does not lead to motivation and wellbeing, Flow does. Utilising your strongest character strengths can help you achieve Flow. Think of the last time you may have experienced Flow. What were you doing? How did you feel? What did you achieve? How can you get Flow through your school work? See “Flow” page on googlesite: Work through activities – discuss videos (not TED Talk)

Positive Education: Building a Strengths Approach Session 6

Character Strengths

Character Strengths

[Hand out list of virtues and character strengths] When our strengths are used to meet the challenge involved in Flow activities we feel energized, creative and capable. Characteristics of Strengths: • • • • • •

They represent the real you They bring a feeling of excitement when they are used A person excels in the Strengths quickly A person longs to put them into action A person feels energized and intrinsically motivated when using them They can be applied to learning, work, relationships and play How do use your top 3 Strengths in your school work? How do you feel when you are using your Strengths? When you used your Strengths were you in Flow?

See “Character Strengths” page on googlesite: Handout “What are your character strengths and why would you care?”

Session 7 Character Strengths & Talents

When we are using our strengths we are much more likely to be engaged in what we are doing. When we are engaged we are energized and enjoy what we are doing. Using our strengths is therefore an excellent way of becoming motivated, resilient and achieving our goals. Character Strengths and Talents: • • • • • •

Strengths are moral traits Talents are non-moral abilities and reflect our character. Talents are innate (within a person) Strengths are ‘voluntary’ – we can choose to develop them We cannot help using a Strength but we can choose not to use a talent Strengths can be built on with practice, persistence, good teaching and dedication Which of your Strengths would you like to build on? What talents do you possess? How do you use or show them? Discussion Statement: We should not talk about our strengths, because we will be seen as boastful. We should only talk about our weaknesses so we make others feel better.

See “Character Strengths” page on googlesite:

Positive Education: Building a Strengths Approach Session 8 Character Strengths

Students should be able to: • • •

Recognise their Character Strengths in action Reflect on the usefulness of Character Strengths for their lives Discover new ways of using their Character Strengths Each girl should give some feedback on each of the 3 dot points Think: Which movie character best represents your top Character Strength?

See “Character Strengths” page on googlesite: Find your top 3 strengths under the six Core Virtues and read some of the ways that you can build on these strengths. Can you recognise things that you already do? Session 9 Virtues

The Virtues: • • • • • •

Wisdom and knowledge Transcendence Courage Temperance Love and humanity Justice Discuss your own definition of each of these virtues.

See “Character Strengths” page on googlesite: for link to Classifying Character Strengths:

Session 10

Consider the chart of the Character Strengths under the 6 Virtues.


Identify your top 5 Character Strengths and which category of the Virtues they are under. Are they equally spread, or all under one Virtue? What are the implications of this for you and the way you interact with others and make decisions on a day-to-day basis? What have your learnt over the 10 sessions about: • • • •

Positive Education/Positive Psychology? Character Strengths & Virtues? Gratitude? Yourself?

The Virtues •

Wisdom and knowledge Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge

Transcendence Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning

Courage Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal

Temperance Strengths that protect against excess

Love and humanity Interpersonal strengths that involve ‘tending and befriending’ others

Justice Civic strengths underlie a healthy community life

Signature Strengths under their six Virtues Wisdom and Knowledge


• Curiosity & interest

• Appreciation of beauty, awe

• Love of learning

• Gratitude

• Originality, ingenuity, creativity

• Hope, optimism

• Perspective

• Humour, playfulness

• Open-mindedness

• Religiousness, sense of purpose



• Valour

• Forgiveness, mercy

• Industry, perseverance

• Modesty, humility

• Integrity, honesty

• Self-control, self-regulation

• Zest, enthusiasm

• Prudence, caution

Love and Humanity


• Intimacy

• Citizenship, duty, loyalty, teamwork

• Kindness, generosity, nurturance

• Equality, fairness

• Social intelligence

• Leadership

Pos ed building a strengths approach  

Introduction to Positive Education program for school use

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