Teaching Character: Positive Psychology for Every Teacher
Erasmus+ course summary
The high prevalence of stress and depression among young people worldwide, small rise in life satisfaction, and the synergy between learning and positive emotion all argue teachers need to focus on teaching skills of happiness beside the content teaching. We need teachers who facilitate curiosity, grit, persistence, and passion of students. Integrating positive psychology into the curriculum has the power to improve students' engagement and accomplishment by helping them to stay optimistic, delay gratification, strengthen willpower, increase resilience, build meaningful social relationships, and find greater meaning and satisfaction. This course shows how inspiring teachers integrate teaching character strengths, optimism, positive emotions, resilience, and positive relationships into their own teaching.
"Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act rightly because we are excellent; in fact we achieve excellence by acting rightly." – Plato
Teach with Positive Education
Positive education combines traditional education principles with the study of happiness and wellbeing.
Training usually takes place between 9:00 am and 14:00 pm, followed by after-class activities, that are optional.
We start off with an introductory meeting, explanation of practical arrangements and presentation of the participants and timetable. The participants are encouraged to express their expectations, needs and wishes regarding the content of the programme and learning methods. *
We continue with Character Strengths: Character Strengths are the positive parts of our personality that impact how we think, feel and behave and are the keys to being our best self. Every individual possesses all 24 character strengths in different degrees, giving each person a unique character profile. When skillfully applied, these strengths have a significant positive impact on our life. Using them helps us buffer against, manage and overcome problems, improve relationships, and enhance health and well-being. The participants learn to enable students to use their character strengths to flourish in life.
Introduction to PERMA model: PERMA describe fundamental human motivators, i.e. P – positive emotions, E – engagement, R – relationships, M – meaning, A – accomplishment. The participants learn to boost these five elements in school in order to help the students reach a life of fulfilment, happiness, and meaning.
Encouraging growth mindset: in a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities (intelligence or talent, for example) are simply fixed traits. Contrary, in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates motivation, productivity, love of learning and the resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
Emotions: The broadening effect of positive emotions can give students a sense of mindfulness, motivation, and gratification that prompts them to feel more comfortable in their environment and eliminates anxieties that may prevent them from being wholly engaged in a task. Participants will learn how to raise awareness in emotions with their students. They will also learn how to grow and cultivate feelings such as joy, serenity, gratitude, awe, and hope.
Positive relationships: when students feel positive about school, see their learning as purposeful and have good relationships with their teachers and peers, they are more academically engaged and therefore achieve more. The participants learn to implement classroom strategies to raise awareness in relationships: peer to peer and student to teacher (and viceversa). By encouraging positive relationships based on trust and respect teachers not only facilitate collaborative learning but also prevent violence and bullying.
Teaching resilience: resilience is our ability to bounce back from the stress of life. It's not about avoiding the stress, but learning to thrive despite it. Such workshop empowers the teachers to develop the seven essential skills of resilience of their students: emotional awareness and self-regulation, impulse control, optimism, flexible and accurate thinking, empathy, self-efficacy, connecting and reaching out into the practical activities.
Flow and engagement: Flow is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. It deepens learning and encourages long-term interest in a subject. On the contrary, mismatches between a task’s challenge and a student’s skill set can lead to anxiety or boredom. The participants learn to design a learning experience in which students’ skills are matched with an appropriate challenge that stretches their ability, but not to the extent of frustration.
The analysis of gained knowledge and skills and key learning points are discussed as well as planning the follow up activities, dissemination and implementation of learning outcomes.
Evaluation and farewell.
Documentation and certificates of attendance.
* Some changes in the programme are possible - the content of the course is always adapted to the participants previous knowledge, expectations and requirements.
The participants receive the Informational Booklet a few weeks prior to the start of the course.