GGS Model of Positive Education

The GGS Model for Positive Education comprises six related domains.  Each of these domains contributes meaningfully to overall wellbeing and is supported by science.  As Seligman explains in his book, Flourish, wellbeing is a construct and not actually a directly measurable quality.  Wellbeing, like the weather, consists of various measurable elements, each contributing to wellbeing, but none defining wellbeing in and of itself.  The name and definitions for the six related measurable elements of wellbeing are:       

Positive Relationships: The Positive Relationships domain explores the importance of connectedness and strong relationships for wellbeing. The focus is on helping students to develop social and emotional skills that nourish their relationships with the self and others. At Geelong Grammar School, this domain builds on the strong school community and culture of respect. In particular, there is profound effort directed towards creating a School community based on kindness and forgiveness. 

Positive Emotions: The Positive Emotion domain aims to enable students and staff to develop a stronger understanding of their emotions and those of others. Our focus is to create opportunities for our school community to experience and savour positive emotions such as joy, love, gratitude and contentment. We endeavour for all staff and students to be able to initiate, experience, prolong, and build positive emotions in their lives. 

Positive Health: The Positive Health domain focuses on supporting students and staff to develop sustainable habits for optimal physical and psychological health. With the inextricable link between physical and psychological health, we know that practising mindfulness and resilience techniques will promote greater health outcomes. Mindfulness and resilience are also supported by the quest to help students to develop broader healthy behaviours in terms of exercise, nutrition, and sleep. 

Positive Engagement: The Positive Engagement domain helps students and staff to experience complete immersion in activities through understanding the nature of engagement, the pathways to it, and the impact it has on individual wellbeing. The aim is for all members of the School community to find sources of interest and passion in their lives. 

Positive Accomplishment: The Positive Accomplishment domain focuses on enabling individual growth through striving for and achieving meaningful outcomes, enabling both students and staff to strive for goals that are both highly rewarding to the self and of benefit to the wider community. The goal is to support all members of the School community to embrace challenges with grit, determination, hope, and a willingness to learn from their experiences.  

Positive Purpose: The Positive Purpose domain explores understanding, believing in, and serving something greater than the self and deliberately engaging in activities for the benefit of others. It encourages students and staff to draw on their character strengths in ways that contribute to the welfare of others and the wider community. It also recognises that belonging to a supportive school community is a strong pathway to purpose and to wellbeing. 

For each of these domains, we continue to learn about the most relevant research, and consider the most effective ways of exploring activities that develop awareness and nurture understanding for humans of all ages.

Using longitudinal data from the Australian Temperament Project, O’Connor and colleagues (2016) confirmed that the six domains of the GGS Model can be accurately modelled as a measure of positive mental health in adolescence and that together the domains show promising long-term predictive validity.  This supports the need for Positive Education to adopt comprehensive and multi-faceted approaches to building and protecting mental health in young people. 

Explore other aspects of the Model


O'Connor, M., Sanson, A., Toumbourou, J. W., Norrish, J., & Olsson, C. (2016). Does positive mental health in adolescence longitudinally predict healthy transitions in young adulthood? Journal of Happiness Studies. doi: 10.1007/s10902-016-9723-3

Seligman, M.E.P. (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Wellbeing, London, Free Press.