The traditional education system has long been criticized for prioritizing academic performance over students’ holistic development, pushing their emotional and mental well-being on the back foot. We need a revolution in education that prioritizes students’ emotional and mental well-being just as much as academic performance – and this is where the concept of Positive Education plays an important role.
“Positive Education offers a new educational model that, in addition to academic learning, emphasizes well-being as a buildable life-long resource.” (Seligman, 2011). With a system that reinforces the overall contentment of a student, it is not unrealistic to hope for a future where healthier individuals create more significant social and academic impact.
Positive Education is a new, groundbreaking approach that is stirring up a revolution in education. It seamlessly blends the principles of Positive Psychology with effective teaching methodologies and educational frameworks to foster optimal development and success among students in the school setting. The Cambridge well-being check is instrumental in furthering this worthy cause, which we will discuss later in this blog.
It is important to note that this system greatly impacts academic success, leading to better test scores among students. The case study of Education for Gross National Happiness in Bhutan found that incorporating Positive Education into the curriculum and school culture increased student well-being and academic performance. Students in schools that implemented the GNH Curriculum had a significant increase in well-being (measured by the EPOCH scale) compared to students in control schools. On average, students performing at the 50th percentile before the intervention performed at the level of students in the 60th percentile and showed a drastic improvement in their overall test scores.
This approach can bring to reality a culture of well-being and positivity, which leads to a more productive and enjoyable learning experience in the classroom. Empowered with the necessary tools and mindset for leading fulfilling lives, Positive Education equips students to tackle any challenge they face.
This approach is nothing short of a revolution as it equips students, teachers, administrators, and parents with the skills and strategies they need to create an ecosystem that nurtures the pursuit of a meaningful life alongside academic excellence.
Let’s discuss how Positive Education impacts the stakeholders.
A growth mindset, goal-setting skills, and emotional regulation empower students to overcome obstacles and reach new heights in their academic pursuits.
In addition to improved academic performance, students are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for leading fulfilling lives, including resilience and empathy. Abilities such as self-reflection and social awareness are also developed, essential for building healthy relationships and achieving success.
Furthermore, students benefit from a more conducive and enjoyable learning environment, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression while indulging in healthy habits and self-care practices.
Positive Education benefits students, educators, and leaders, fostering a culture of positivity that leads to greater fulfillment and engagement at the workplace. It promotes a culture of optimism, which can help educators feel more motivated, engaged, and fulfilled – reducing stress and burnout. The supportive environment enables them to regulate emotions, set and achieve goals and develop the essential skills that lead to a more enjoyable and fulfilling work experience.
Techniques such as mindfulness, gratitude, and other character strengths can improve relationships between educators and students in the classroom, as students feel more valued and respected.
Correspondingly, educators are influenced to reassess and enhance their wellness, resilience, and emotional intelligence to manage their stress effectively. This eventually reflects in their teaching habits, helps develop a growth mindset, and results in better student engagement.
Providing parents with the tools and knowledge to support their child’s emotional, social, and mental development can help create a supportive home environment, leading to better communication, cooperation, and overall psychological comfort.
With a substantial understanding of well-being and the strategies that support it, parents are empowered to play an active role in their child’s education. They can incorporate techniques such as mindfulness and gratitude into their parenting, supporting their child’s learning and development curve.
One of the essential assessment tools to measure the impact of Positive Education is the Cambridge Well-being Check (CWC) which provides significant insights into their emotional and mental health.
Developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, the CWC is a 20-minute self-report questionnaire that measures eight domains of well-being: emotional, social, psychological, physical, spiritual, environmental, financial, and occupational. The questionnaire is designed for students and provides an overview of their current level of well-being and specific recommendations for how they can improve in each domain.
Enabling schools to pinpoint areas for improvement and devise strategies to support their students’ overall success, the CWC is a remarkable asset for educational institutions.
By signing an agreement with the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring (CEM), Emkan will empower schools to implement the Cambridge Well-being Check, taking student welfare to the next level. With this support, schools in Saudi Arabia will be equipped with the most effective tools and resources available, providing students with the best possible environment for learning and growth.
Positive Education is not just a change in the curriculum; it is a change in perspective. It is a call to prioritize well-being, resilience, and positivity in every aspect of education. Implementing the Cambridge Well-being Check can seismically affect the educational ecosystem. It will change students’ lives and, in turn, the world for the better.
Together, we can create a brighter future for our students, educators, and society.
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 McLeod, J. D., & Fettes, D. L. (2007). Trajectories of failure: The educational careers of children with mental health problems. American Journal of Sociology, 113, 653-701
 Seligman, M. (2011). Flourish A New Understanding of Happiness and well-being and How to Achieve Them. London, England: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
 Global Happiness and Wellbeing Policy Report 2019