CHARACTER STRENGTHS

GGS Model of Positive Education

“Character strengths are ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that come naturally and easily to a person and that enable high functioning and performance.” (Linley, 2006)
 
James Pawelski, founding President of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA), discussed in 2011 what Positive Psychology means by the term ‘positive’.  He first states that the term does not mean ‘marked by acceptance or approval’ and this is a common misunderstanding that some people have about the field of Positive Education. It is not trying to say in any way that it is the ‘correct’ or ‘right’ form of education and that everything else that has come before has been ‘negative’ or ‘wrong’ education.  Pawelski goes on to reference two meanings of the term ‘positive’ that are relevant – firstly, helping people move in a positive direction and into positive levels of wellbeing, and secondly, coming from the Latin ponere meaning ‘to set up’ or ‘to build’.  It is this view that we take of the term ‘positive’ in Positive Education.  It is a form of education where we build skills and resources in our students and teachers and where we take a strengths-based approach to growth and development.
 
Hence, from our term ‘flourish’ at the core of the GGS Model, we move outward to Character Strengths.  This highlights the importance of schools introducing a common language of what is right, of what works -- a language of the positive human qualities which, when actioned, contribute to living a good life. Developing an understanding of one’s character strengths and utilising them in a variety of different ways builds confidence and competence in individuals. 
 
We remind students, staff and parents, that the 24 VIA (Values in Action) Character Strengths are universally valued, they exist within each of us and that they can be intentionally nurtured.  We also ensure that our community is well aware that, whilst our character strengths are relatively stable, they can and do change with our changing life experience and context.  As each character strength can be overused, underused or misused, it is important we also explore the ‘shadow-side’ of each of these morally valued human qualities.

VIA Character Strength Icons

Source: VIA Institute on Character

The Character Strengths underpin our GGS Model and also provide an access point into the next ring of our Model, which lists the six related domains of wellbeing. 

Explore other aspects of the Model