The power of the positive
Parents want Schools to teach more than academic achievement. They also want us to cultivate a love of learning, creativity, resilience, optimism, character strengths, and wellbeing in their children.
At Geelong Grammar School we recognise that young people need strategies to help them deal successfully with modern living. We want them to feel confident, resilient and optimistic.
With the introduction of Positive Education and our innovative Handbury Centre for Wellbeing, we give our students the best start for the rest of their lives.
Our ongoing collaboration with Professor Martin Seligman and his team from the University of Pennsylvania has resulted in the development of Positive Education - a whole school approach to teaching and learning from Early Learning to Year 12.
Positive Education is based on research and developed from the science of
Positive Psychology, a branch of psychology founded by Professor Martin Seligman on the belief that people want more than just an antidote to depression. Rather waiting for depression to occur, and then treating the symptoms, Positive Psychology focuses on cultivating positive emotion, character traits and institutions.
Professor Seligman’s groundbreaking research has indicated that it is possible to be happier and more positive regardless of one’s circumstances. He has also demonstrated that through Positive Psychology interventions, the symptoms of depression can be lastingly decreased. This has been supported by the work of leading researchers such as Tal Ben-Shahar, Barbara Fredrickson, Felicia Huppert and Sonja Lyubomirsky.
The implicit teaching of Positive Education takes place at each year level, at every campus and across all aspects of School life: academic subjects, pastoral life and the co-curriculum programme. Explicit teaching is delivered in Year 7 and Year 10 through specific Positive Psychology programmes written by the world’s leading research psychologists and developed in collaboration with experienced classroom teachers.
Studies over the past 20 years suggest that these explicit Positive Psychology programmes lead students to have increased levels of creativity, better critical thinking skills and increased levels of positive emotion. They also have positive effects on depressive symptoms, improve student awareness of explanatory style for negative events and have significant impacts on depression, anxiety, and adjustment disorders.
More than 160 Geelong Grammar staff have taken part in intensive residential training courses with Professor Martin Seligman and his team of experts through which they learned and practiced Positive Psychology principles and skills.
Teachers are able to use the science of Positive Psychology in their classes and activities and it is in this way that Positive Education influences every student - in the classroom, on the sports field and in their House - at each of our campuses, every day.
‘Geelong Grammar School is the pioneer in the world in taking steps to introduce this type of learning through all aspects of an educational curriculum. In doing so, I believe that Geelong Grammar students who go through the programme will be less likely to suffer from depression – which is increasing in epidemic proportions in many western countries, including Australia – and will lead more positive and fulfilling lives.’
Professor Martin Seligman,
Fox Leadership Professor,
University of Pennsylvania