05 Jul Happiness at school
Anne Fawcett | July 4, 2007
A revolution at one of the country’s premier schools aims to produce children ready for any challenge.
Literacy and numeracy may be the acknowledged benchmarks of a successful education in the schools of the developed world but a new discipline is working its way into the classroom: learned optimism.
At Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, construction is well advanced on a $16 million Wellbeing Centre, a building at the crux of an approach to teaching and learning that is attracting worldwide attention. The school is to become the first in the world to incorporate positive psychology into its curriculum.
“[In 2007] we have an expectation that every-one can read and write but we can see now that that’s not enough,” says principal Stephen Meek. “The head and the heart need to be added to our curriculum.
“The current educational model … is no longer equipped to deal with the issues that face the modern student,” he says. “We need strategies that will help our students take a productive approach in dealing with the issues that will confront them throughout their lives.”
Early next year the father of positive psychology, Professor Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness and a former president of the American Psychological Association, will lead a team of positive psychologists training Geelong Grammar staff in learned optimism. Teachers will be trained to help children recognise and argue against “catastrophic thoughts”.
During part of this induction period Seligman will live at the school’s senior campus, assisting teachers to incorporate the tenets of positive psychology into all subject areas, as well as pastoral care and boarding facilities.
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