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Positive Education: 3 Big Ideas from 7 Global Leaders

PositiveEducation_New Zealand Conference

New Zealand held its first-ever Positive Education conference this past week and what an extraordinary event it was! Nearly 300 educators traveled from as far as the US and Singapore to hear global leaders in this emerging field. Below are 3 ideas from each of the plenary speakers.

Dr Lucy Hone
Research Associate AUT University
Author, “What Abi Taught Us”

1. Well-being can be taught and learned
2. NZ spends $18 billion on care at the “bottom of the cliff” instead of before kids get to the cliff.
3. Clearly defined models are essential for success and they must focus on what we want NOT what we are trying to avoid.

Mathew White
Director of Wellbeing and Positive Education
St Peter’s College, Adelaide, Australia

1. Wellbeing goes beyond simply removing challenges and barriers and promoting strengths
2. Schools can support wellbeing through leadership and vision; governance, strategy and management; partnerships; measurement;knowledge transfer; interventions and communication. 
3. A positive approach to change management, such as Appreciate Inquiry, is most useful in seeking to create a positive organization.

Dr. Paula Robinson
Managing Director, Positive Psychology Institute
Sydney, Australia
1. Positive Education must start with educators.
2. Define terms, select champions, measure progress and keep it simple!
3. Change won’t happen overnight.

Dr. Aaron Jarden
President, NZ Association for Positive Psychology
Auckland, NZ
1. AWE is a wellbeing assessment for students and educators with individual reports and dashboards
2. In includes two powerful questions – what makes your school a great place and what needs to change to make your school a great place. 
3. The frequency with which you assess is directly related to the degree of participant buy-in.

Jill Pears
Diamond Harbor School
Christchurch, NZ

1. ERO indicators of wellbeing culture, values, practice , learning, teaching, curriculum, systems, people and initiatives
2. They must all be undertaken as a system as these elements work dependent upon one another.
3. Student voice must be included in defining wellness and creating plans for change and implementation.

Grant Rix
Training and Programmes Director
Mindfulness Education Group
NZ

1. Mindfulness requires focusing on our immediate experience. 
2. This focus happens with curiosity, openness, acceptance and love (COAL) 
3. An unexpected outcome from mindfulness training in schools was improvement in conflict resolution skills (these were not taught directly)

Denise Quinlan
Individual and Organizational Wellbeing
Dunedin, NZ

1. We might have to dig for an individual’s strengths as they might not be on the surface. 
2. The 24 character strengths are 24 ways to like a difficult student
3. The VIA is not a blood test but rather a scaffold from which we build a cathedral.

Carol Adams Miller
Best Selling Author, Speaker, Teacher

1. Getting out of your comfort zone with challenging goals is how we build self esteem. 
2. Grit include passion, persistence and long-term goals 
3. To encourage grit, praise wisely, promote patience, mentor, create a culture of excellence and humility

Jillian Darwish

Meet Jillian Darwish

President of Mayerson Academy. Celebrating strengths and exploring new possibilities in learning and organizational development that help individuals, teams and organizations be at their best everyday. Find Jillian on Twitter @JillianDarwish.

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