Getting Positive Education off the Ground at your School

Dr Georgiana Cameron

Positive Education can seem a deceptively simple idea, just educate in a positive way. Our book, Positive Education: The Geelong Grammar School Journey can provide proof that simple doesn’t mean easy. With over 300 pages documenting the key stages of our journey and research underpinning our Model of Positive Education, we can safely say that it takes time, resources, persistence and planning.

Schools often struggle with the beginning stages of Positive Education, when there is small group of enthusiastic staff and a large group of disinterested staff. Like flying an aeroplane, these early stages require a great deal of energy and are crucial in getting you where you want to go. We have some questions which will help you get Positive Education off the ground and reduce the amount of frustrated energy you expend trying to rally the herd.

Who are you trying to convince in your school?

The answer ‘Everyone!’ is neither helpful nor realistic.

When you begin to consider who you are trying to convince of beginning Positive Education, you see that different people in the school have very different points of view and concerns depending on their positions. For example, if you are trying to convince your principal, they might be most interested in the research evidence, resources required and academic benefits of Positive Education so they can make an informed decision and communicate this to a board and their parent community.

Alternatively, let’s think about trying to convince a classroom teacher of the benefits of Positive Education. They might not be as interested in the research side of things, rather they might want to know whether Positive Education is going to help their students? Classroom teachers might want to know how Positive Education will affect their teaching, workload and day to day interactions; is Positive Education going to make me want to come to work more?

Why will your school benefit from Positive Education?

There are quite a few logical arguments for Positive Education such as preventing and reducing mental health problems for young people and adults, educating students to be lifelong learners who are resilient in the faces of stresses beyond school and supporting a more peaceful and harmonious world through building character, to name a few.

Understanding and communicating these arguments is important, yet what is more important is developing a rationale for why Positive Education will benefit your school. In other words, why implement Positive Education in your school? Answering this question begins with thinking about your school context. What do most people agree on? What would they like to see more of or less of in their school? How might Positive Education align to these needs?

We hope these questions get you off to a flying start. To find out more about how to get started with Positive Education come along to our Designing Positive Education and Positive Education in Action days.

Dr Georgiana Cameron
Dr Georgiana Cameron is a Trainer and Content Developer for the Institute of Positive Education. She has completed a Doctorate of Educational Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Georgiana has strong experience working directly with students, teachers and families in her work as an educational psychologist. Her time working on large-scale mental health initiatives in schools has given her a sound understanding of mental health prevention and promotion.

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