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How Positive Education can create Positive Communities and Organisations- By Claudia Owad & Dr Suzy Green

06 May 2013

What is Positive Education?
Positive Education is a strand of Positive Psychology. It involves the application of well-being science into educational settings with the aim of creating flourishing students, staff and whole school communities.
The aim of the conference-
The aim of this conference was to foster the development of Positive Education in Australia and globally and to provide a forum for researchers, teachers, students and practitioners. Day One of the conference focused on the Science of Positive Education. Day Two of the conference focused on the Practice of Positive Education.
What we learned-
The myriad of talented and passionate speakers was overwhelming including Academics, thought leaders, Teachers, Psychologists, Coaches, Students and a variety of practitioners involved in Education. The combination of evidence based research and practical application, gave participants a comprehensive insight into the why and how of Positive Education.
Key ideas that emerged included:
•Coaching in education for teachers and students is a growing approach to boosting well being & performance
•Coaching aims to unlock potential in young people helping them learn rather than teaching them
•Coaching teacher’s aims to engage and empower teachers.  Engaged teachers in turn engage students who then perform better
•Coaching students can improve academic performance, resilience, hope and well-being more broadly
•The importance of developing and cultivating growth and strengths mindsets within education 
•The importance of strength promotion individuals, classrooms and school environments
•The need to educate and promote positive self concepts for students
•Gratitude is a critical emotion for well being
•Important areas of research in Positive Psychology are – Mindfulness, Flourishing, Kindness, Post traumatic growth & Gratitude
•The need to view wellbeing as the ‘currency’ of Positive Education
•Understanding that Positive Education is a sustainable approach that is inclusive and considers the whole system not just individual patterns
•The importance of strengths spotting and activity based learning
•Connectivity is the key for growth and building positive relationships
•Building staff capabilities is key for wellbeing and organizational development
•The importance of adopting ‘Well Being’ strategies instead of ‘Welfare’ strategies within schools
How Positive Education can affect communities and organisations
Educational institutions are one of the foundations of positive communities. As young people leave school they will inevitable embark on careers and engage in all areas of our society. 
So what if we taught this next generation –
•A positive, strengths based  & flourishing mindset
•How to increase wellbeing, resilience & happiness from a young age
•How to have high levels of self awareness & confidence
What would the end-result be? How would these impact individuals, teams, organisations and communities? 
Positively! The impact of Positive Education is far reaching and will ultimately impact all areas of society through improved engagement and productivity at work through to positive health, improved social skills and better communication & connection!
Where to from here?
We need to continue to build awareness and education of what Positive Education is.  Unfortunately there are still many myths that exist that perpetuate the false belief that Positive Psychology is a happiology or that Positive Education is a fad!  The 1st Australian Positive Education Conference definitely busted these myths!  The more schools that invest in this field by attending conferences, reading resource materials and most importantly sharing ideas and thoughts that will influence others, the stronger this movement will become.  Hopefully in the near future all schools will be involved in the application of the science of Positive Psychology to create flourishing students, staff, schools and communities.
Author Biographies: 
Claudia Owad presented a workshop on Day Two of the conference focused on the practice of Positive Education entitled- Building a flourishing school environment, through strengths based learning, coaching & training. As well as running her own Company Creative Coaching & Training, Claudia is a Senior Associate at The Positivity Institute with Dr Suzy Green. She has close to twenty years of experience working with individuals, teams & organisations in developmental, strategic, educational and training capacities. As a Coaching Psychology Coach & Trainer, Claudia has designed, developed & delivered coaching & training programs, strategies and frameworks for organisations and teams. Her work and expertise in Coaching led her to sit on the board of The International Coach Federation Australasia (ICFA). She has a work history spanning across Education, Health, Community, Corporate, Government, Not for Profit, The Arts & Construction Industries. She is an avid user of evidence based theories & methodologies, holding a Masters in Coaching Psychology (Sydney University). She is passionate about Applying Positive Psychology to all aspects of our lives, developing potential for individuals, teams and organisations- through strengths, growth, & positive mindsets, coaching, training & education. 
 
Dr Suzy Green is a Clinical and Coaching Psychologist (MAPS) based in Sydney. She is a leader in the complementary fields of Coaching Psychology and Positive Psychology having conducted a world-first study on evidence-based coaching as an Applied Positive Psychology. Suzy was the recipient of an International Positive Psychology Fellowship Award and has published in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Suzy has lectured on Applied Positive Psychology as a Senior Adjunct Lecturer in the Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney since 2004. She is also a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Australian Institute of Business Well-Being, Sydney Business School, and University of Wollongong and is an Honorary Vice President of the International Society for Coaching Psychology. Suzy is the Founder of The Positivity Institute, an organisation providing applied positive psychology for life, school and work. Suzy is also a Board Member of The Reach Foundation, an organisation that’s been making a positive impact in the lives of young Australians for nearly two decades. Suzy also writes a regular “stress-less” column for Australian Women’s Health magazine.
 
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