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OUR VISION

We want to create a flourishing society where everyone is able to fulfill their potential and achieve both success and wellbeing. Every institution in society has a moral obligation to promote human flourishing, and none more so than those responsible for educating young people – families, schools and colleges.

OUR MISSION

People flourish when they experience a balance of positive emotions, engagement with the world, good relationships with others, a sense of meaning and moral purpose, and the accomplishment of valued goals.

The aim of positive education is to equip young people with the knowledge and life skills to flourish and contribute to the flourishing of others.

The Double Helix

Positive education challenges the current paradigm of education, which values academic attainment above all other goals. Drawing on classical ideals, we believe that the DNA of education is a double helix with intertwined strands of equal importance:

  • The fulfillment of intellectual potential through the learning of the best that has been thought and known.

  • The development of character strengths and well-being, which are intrinsically valuable and contribute to a variety of positive life outcomes.

PURSUING BOTH STRANDS

The twin strands of our ‘character plus academics’ approach complement one another and are mutually reinforcing. This ancient wisdom has been empirically verified by modern science. Academic achievement contributes to wellbeing by increasing engagement, meaning and accomplishment. Conversely, programmes and practices designed to enhance wellbeing through the development of character strengths and virtues have been shown to positively contribute to academic achievement.

By pursuing both strands, positive education aims to enable young people to become the authors of their own life stories, endowing them with the practical wisdom they need to make good choices, overcome adversity, lead happy and successful lives, and contribute positively to society.

WE CAN ALL FLOURISH

Character may be destiny, but our destinies are not fixed.

Just as cognitive abilities can be improved through rigorous academic study, research has confirmed that our ability to be more courageous, patient, determined, compassionate or helpful can be improved with the right instruction. Character is a skill and it can be strengthened with knowledge and practice.

To develop a broad range of character strengths and virtues in young people involves whole-institution approaches in which every aspect of the culture – from the content of curricula to how teachers are trained to what is measured – is designed to promote both academic achievement and character development. Not one, or the other, but both. Only then can we recapture the essential purpose of education, which is to form flourishing individuals with strong moral values.

UNIVERSAL VALUES

Our movement is global in scope.

We believe that the goals of positive education are shared widely, both within societies and across the world. Research has identified a range of character strengths and virtues – such as curiosity, self-control and kindness – that are valued by all major cultures and religions because of their contribution to individual and societal flourishing.

Positive education seeks to instil these universal values in people as seeds for societal flourishing. Our movement is global in scope because all humans can benefit from positive education, independent of nationality, race, creed, class or culture.

A GLOBAL NETWORK

In order to achieve our goals we will create a global network of teachers, parents, pupils, students, researchers, schools, colleges, universities, charities, companies and governments to promote positive education and bring about a paradigm shift in perceptions of the purpose of education.

The network will have three purposes.

  • ~ 1 ~

    REFORM
    POLICY

    We aim to persuade policymakers to change their policy frameworks so that practitioners are encouraged to educate for character and wellbeing alongside delivering rigorous and stretching academic study.

    We are deeply committed to the proper use of scientific inquiry and evaluation to support the case for positive education, and our public advocacy will be founded on evidence of what works.

  • ~ 2 ~

    CHANGE EDUCATION PRACTICE

    We aim to equip practitioners with the educational tools they need to start delivering positive education in the classroom.

    We will provide evidence-based curricula, teacher training and development programmes, assessment tools, and other items that enable practitioners to begin creating a culture of positive education in their institutions.

  • ~ 3 ~

    SUPPORT COLLABORATION

    We aim to create a growing community of positive educators who are able to collaborate with one another to develop a deeper understanding of the theory and practice of positive education.

    We will create a membership-led open-access online learning community, and will hold biennial conferences to bring positive educators from around the world together to learn from one another.

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