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Positive Psychology And Education
According to the Handbook of Positive Psychology in schools, positive peer support networks such as SWPBS aid in bringing together school communities to foster a positive, safe, and supportive learning cultures which in turn improves a child’s emotional, social, and behavioural well being. Studies accounting the effects of SWPBS portray a reductional in student delinquent behaviour such as vandalism, drug use, antisocial behaviour, and delinquency (Sprague & Horner, 2006). Additionally, an improvement in academic achievement and student engagement is reported to have increased with programs such as SWPBS. The goals of SWPBS are to get support from the district, set high yet reasonable standards for their students, monitor students behaviours with a set of expectations input, and utilizing the observation of students behaviours as a guidance towards what teaching methods are found necessary to be put in place.
Note: Essential to argument as it emphasizes proactive methods in which educational institutions should take by promoting a positive peer support network. The school is an essential environment towards how a student perceives and makes sense of the world, as is their home environment where there is less control towards what maladaptive behaviours they are exposed to and learn from.
A meta analysis was conducted by Seligman et al. with the aim of reinforcing a positive education approach as being interconnected with a students mental health and therefore, their academic performance. Positive education highlights values such as “confidence, happiness, and satisfaction” whereas traditional school values aim towards prosperity and emphasizes “success, conformity, and literacy.” Seligman et. al hypothesize that such values can become interconnected to provide a more holistic approach, emphasizing a positive environment in the education system leading to an improvement in academic performance. The Positive Psychology Programme being part of the meta-analysis, conducted a longitudinal study with 347 year 9 students that contained the positive psychology curriculum. Questionnaires were given prior to the start of the two year program as well as when students completed the program. The questionnaires emphasized questions examining a students strengths such as kindness, enthusiasm in a classroom setting, social skills and behavioural issues. The students grades were examined as well. Results portray a positive correlation between academic performance and values promoted by the Positive Psychology Programme. Therefore the study provides empirical support regarding the need of positive education in a students mental health as being directly proportional to academic performance.
Terjesen, M., jacofsky, M. and Froh, J., 2003. Integrating positive psychology into schools: Implications for practice. [online] Available at: <https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.10148> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2019].
Terjesen et. all conducted a qualitative meta analysis regarding positive psychology in the education system, as opposed to the “fix it” method. Utilizing positive psychology, an individual’s strengths are emphasized providing them with a sense of self determination. It is possible that as individuals are constantly being made to focus on their weaknesses, that it would lead to a self fulfilling prophecy towards failure. Research has demonstrated that teaching optimism (Jaycox et al., 1994; Seligman et al., 1995) can be effective in preventing at-risk children from developing depressive symptomatology. A student who experiences long term stressors that procure depressive symptoms, is likely to also have a reduction in other cognitive abilities related to learning such as memory recall and lack in self efficacy.
Note: This is essential to my argument as it demonstrates the faulty reasonings towards focusing solely on negative reinforcement, as opposed to rewarding an individual for their strengths as a form of positive reinforcement.
The study was conducted by researchers Ulusoy and Duy (2013) with the aim of examining if cognitive behavioural therapy, as administered by a psycho-education program, if it was effective in reducing learned helplessness in pre-adolescent students. The sample consisted of 27 participants from the eighth grade separated into three equal groups. The groups were separated into the control and the experimental group. The experimental group was administered the cognitive behavioural therapy through the psycho-education program, while the other was given a placebo effect. It was expected that if students were aided with their irrational beliefs or dichotomous thinking towards test-taking, that it would decrease their learned helplessness as hypothesized to be in positive correlation to each other. The results portrayed an improvement in post and pre test scores towards the experimental group and a decrease in irrational beliefs, through the aid of cognitive behavioural therapy and a positive peer support network. Although the levels of learned helplessness were still consistent throughout all the participants
- Huebener, E. and Furlong, M., 2009. Handbook of positive psychology in schools. New York: Routledge, pp.297-298
- Seligman, M., Ernst, R., Gillham, J., Reivich, K. and Linkins, M., 2019. Positive education: positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), pp.293–311.
- Terjesen, M., jacofsky, M. and Froh, J., 2003. Integrating positive psychology into schools: Implications for practice. [online] Available at: <https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.10148> [Accessed 23 Jun. 2019].
- ULUSOY, Y. and DUY, B., 2013. Effectiveness of a Psycho-education Program on Learned Helplessness and Irrational Beliefs*. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice.
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