At the end of the course, the student has knowledge and insight in:
- main theories of positive psychology in the context of education;
- existing curriculum-based interventions on positive education and their effects;
- ways to measure the affective as well as the cognitive effects of positive education interventions.
Furthermore, at the end of this course, the student is able to:
- translate problems and questions from educational practice into a theory-based positive education intervention that incorporates a technological component;
- justify design decisions in a report;
- present their work in a professional manner to practitioners.
There is growing interest in applying positive psychology elements in education. Positive psychology in education, or positive education, is concerned with the development of pupils’ strengths and well-being, thereby enabling them to achieve academic goals. Seligman (2011) introduced five core factors that can be addressed to experience a high level of wellbeing: positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment. Positive education is addressed through the implementation of Positive Psychology Interventions (PPI’s) aiming at cultivating positive feelings, positive behaviour, or positive cognitions in school settings (Norrish and Vella-Brodrick, 2009).|
To date, the implementation of positive psychology in schools has primarily taken place at the level of the classroom, with relatively short curriculum-based interventions (Waters, 2011). However, research on social and emotional learning interventions suggests that these interventions are likely to be more successful when 1) integrated into the school culture and daily school practices, 2) engaging all staff, 3) reinforcing social skills outside the classroom, 4) supporting parental engagement, and 5) supporting community engagement such as sport associations or local companies (Weare & Nind 2011).
This course gives an overview of the most important principles of positive psychology in the context of education. Students will explore a number of positive educational interventions aimed at different educational levels, both national and international, and will develop a proposal for a small theory-based intervention based on a case that is provided by practitioners who will present their case during one of the meetings.
The series of six lectures starts with three lectures about positive psychology and more specifically about positive education and positive education programmes. These lectures will take place in an active form, based on a strong theoretical framework. Students will learn about theory, try out exercises, get knowledge of current interventions, and get in contact with practitioners. The concepts of positive education will be discussed in the context of students’ well-being, engagement, and academic development fitting within the rest of the master of the Learning Sciences. Based on the first three lectures, students collaborating in small groups will choose one of the cases, presented by schools working with positive education, on which they will work during the rest of the course.
The other three lectures will focus more specifically on values, whole school approaches, growth mindset, strengths, and compassion. In these lectures, again, connection is sought with the rest of the master programme.
To complete this course, students individually take a written exam. In addition, they work in small groups and design a positive education intervention that incorporates a technological component and write a paper in which design decisions are justified. They also present this work to the practitioners and their fellow students.
Assumed previous knowledge
|Bachelor or pre-master Psychology UT||Required materials|
Recommended materials-Instructional modes
|Self study without assistance|
|Written exam, (group) assignments|
RemarkWritten exam, (group) assignments and presentation