Day Two at the International Positive Education Network’s (IPEN) Festival of Positive Education was focused on the Discovery and Dream phases of the Appreciative Inquiry Process.

Appreciative Inquiry (AI), as defined by David Cooperrider, “represents a paradigm shift in the world of sustainable organizational development: a radical departure from traditional deficit-based change to a positive, strengths-based change approach.” AI is a major overarching topic at WPEA2018, as it focuses on building an organization around their strengths, and designing systems within an organization to achieve more effective, sustainable outcomes.

There are 4 components of the AI Cycle: Discovery, Dream, Design, and Destiny. Working in small groups, we took a deep dive into the first two of the “4-D Cycle”, Discovery and Dream, and how this applies to our organizations.

Discover: Uncover and lift up innovations and insights in Positive Education.

Through the discovery process, we identified both small and big ideas.

Small Ideas:

– Media campaigns around the evidence of impact for positive education

– Speaking from our heads AND our hearts to help others take action

– Bring more educators from diverse school environments to the table and to the conversation

Big Ideas:

– Shift teacher preparation programs to integrate positive education approaches

– Shift federal funding and policies to support the integration of positive education with teachers in classrooms

– Shift the focus of positive education application to kids who need it most, especially in high need schools

– Build positive communities around positive schools to deepen and sustain impact

Dream: Envision new opportunities and possibilities for accelerating Positive Education.

The Mayerson team was tasked with casting a vision that will accelerate positive education over the next 10 years. We believe that aligning efforts across boundaries is key – and came up with an ecosystem concept.

The ecosystem we developed (photo left) is similar to our approach with integrating strengths-based practices in schools, organizations, and communities through Strong Cincinnati. Mayerson Academy is working closely with community leaders to build and design the Strong Cincinnati initiative. Strong Cincinnati aims to foster strong, connected communities through the activation of strengths within individuals, organizations, and neighborhoods. We are leveraging the amazing work happening in schools with the Thriving Learning Communities program and exploring what it would look like to take this work beyond the school and support a strengths-based neighborhood.

For those attending #WPEA2018, we’re providing resources on the following landing page to help others build a strengths-based ecosystem within schools, organizations, and communities across the globe.

Words We Heard:

Throughout the conference, we’re jotting down key words and phrases that stand out from the rest. Have any to add? Comment below.

“If your school focused on what your child can do rather than on what they cannot do, imagine the possibility. ” – Positive Minds International

“Focus on what they’re doing right,” ⁦- Live Happy⁩ CEO Deborah K. Heisz on the parent perspective.

“We need more systematic teacher training to help teachers integrate positive education”- Marty Seligman

“Every child asks the question: ‘Do I matter?’ What teachers have to do is build that sense of mattering.” – Marty Seligman

“We have an unprecedented opportunity in human history to create the best educational systems that the world has ever seen. What a responsibility we hold in our hands.” – David Cooperrider

“Positive education, well-being and character, should buffer against the negatives: anxiety, depression and anger.” – Marty Seligman

“Everyone deserves an education that is about their own development as a human being. The purpose of education — is for me to become me — in the context of the society that I live, so I can truly contribute to my society.”- Ash Buchanan