Teaching Character: Positive Psychology for Every Teacher
The high prevalence worldwide of stress and depression among young people, the small rise in life satisfaction, and the synergy between learning and positive emotion all argue that teachers need to focus on teaching the skills of happiness along the content teaching. In developing mindsets for 21st century educating mind by teaching content only is simply not enough. Data are everywhere around us. We don’t need teachers for giving information. We need teachers who facilitate curiosity, grit, persistence, and passion of students. Integrating positive psychology into the curriculum has the power to improve student 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 can 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
The main goal of the course is to help teachers creating positive classrooms to develop mindsets for the 21st century. Positive psychology offers evidence-based hands-on tools for boosting students’ well-being. Throughout the course, participants will get familiar with the fundamental concepts of positive psychology such as character strengths, growth mindset, resilience, flow, and PERMA. They will learn how to use positive psychology tools to improve students’ engagement, accomplishments, grit, and persistence. Participants will receive lessons plans of teaching character for their own use.
The course is designed as a set of 15 sessions in a classroom for integrating positive psychology in a regular curriculum. The format of the course is didactic, experiential, and interactive along with discussions, individual and team exercises. The participants will receive a workbook with sessions’ summaries, and descriptions of activities used. Resources to deepen understanding and practice will be shared for further study.
Introductory meeting, explanation of practical arrangements, presentation of timetable, information about course venue.
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, character strengths have a significant positive impact on our life. Using character strengths help us buffer against, manage and overcome problems, improve relationships, and enhance health and well-being. Participants will learn helping students 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. Participants will learn to boost these five elements in a school in order to help students reach a life of fulfilment, happiness, and meaning.
Encouraging growth mindset: In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. 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 a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity.
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, have good relationships with their teachers and peers, and see their learning as purposeful, they are more academically engaged and achieve more. Participants will learn implement classroom strategies to raise awareness in relationships: peer to peer and student - teacher. By encouraging positive relationships based on trust and respect teachers not only facilitate collaborate learning but also prevent violence and bullying.
Teaching resilience: Resilience is our ability to bounce back from the stresses of life. It's not about avoiding the stress, but learning to thrive within the stress. The workshop on teaching resilience will empower teachers to develop the seven essential skills of resilience of their students: emotional awareness and self-regulation, impulse control, optimism, flexible & accurate thinking, empathy, self-efficacy, connecting and reaching out in to practical activities.
Flow and engagement: Flow is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. Flow deepens learning and encourages long-term interest in a subject. Student engagement exists when students experience high levels of concentration, interest, and enjoyment. Mismatches between a task’s challenge and a student’s skill set can lead to anxiety or boredom. Participants will learn to design learning experience in which students’ skills are matched with an appropriate challenge that stretches their ability, but not to the extent of frustration.
Key learning points.
Planning follow up activities, dissemination and implementation of learning outcomes.
Discussing possibilities for future cooperation among participants.
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