Positive education: Learning and teaching for wellbeing and academic mastery

Mathew A. White, Margaret L. Kern


Over the past decade, positive education has emerged as a rapidly growing arm of positive psychology that has attracted both interest and critique. Through a case study, we show that positive education can positively impact students, teachers, and others within the educational community, but success is not immediate nor imminent. We suggest that successful positive education programs blend evidence-based learning from the science of positive psychology, best practices in learning and teaching, whole school strategy, and evaluation, and consider pedagogy, philosophical assumptions, and the school’s culture. Positive education must be studied, applied, and managed responsibly, as there is also potential that attempts are ineffective or do harm. Finally, we consider implications for training, teaching, and professional practice. Positive education has made significant progress, but future research and application will benefit from a unified theoretical framework that adequately incorporates educational knowledge and pedagogical practice.


Positive education, positive psychology, wellbeing science, professional practice, culture change, critical perspective

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v8i1.588


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