"There is substantial evidence from well-controlled studies that skills that increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement and meaning can be taught to school children."
—Martin E. P. Seligman, PhD University of Pennsylvania
"It has been three weeks since the World Government Summit 2017 was held in Dubai. There were two substantial papers released at that summit. One, on desired Innovations in Government, has been written about. The other called `The State of Positive Education` has not. Radio Silence about a desired global paradigm shift so that `schools all around the world should place well-being at the heart of education` means that those of us who are paying attention do not get a chance to bark in alarm."
"Why would we be so alarmed you may wonder? The Summit had two Americans as the keynoters on this topic. A U-Penn prof, Martin Seligman, with his own tag who we have previously tied to the UN’s World Happiness Reports and Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, who is tied quite simply to virtually everything. For starters, it is Csik’s definition of Excellence as bringing together what we want, feel, and think into a single act that is in play every time we hear a desire for Excellence in Education. Think also of the federal civil rights laws and the repeated command for Equity and Excellence..."
"One more example, this one cited in that Summit Report IPEN created: fed Ed recently announced its `new ‘Skills for Success’ grant competition, aimed at improving students’ mindsets and learning skills. The awarded projects will involve more than 10,000 students in various school districts in the US.` Those districts may brag about the money as demonstrating they are on the Right Track locally. Bet the grants will not be touted as being a Positive Psychology experiment. There are five listed foundations in this approach to education: Social and emotional competency, positive emotions, positive relationships with peers and teachers, engagement through cognitive and character strengths so these can be developed at school, and students having opportunities at school and in the community to develop a sense of meaning and purpose."
"Would anyone like to guess how often anti-bullying is cited as a reason to shift to Positive Education? "
"Actually I will close with a statement Seligman made in June 2009 for the Oxford Review of Education when he answered the question of `Why Positive Education now?` with `What is all our wealth for, anyway?` I am tempted to pretend to be Tonto when the Indians are attacking him and the Lone Ranger and ask `who is we?` but then no one thinks wealth is easier to come by apparently than politicians and tenured profs. Here is Seligman and the reason for the Radio Silence:"
"General well-being – how much positive emotion, how much engagement at work, how much meaning in life our citizens have – is now quantifiable and it complements, and makes sense of, GDP. Public policy can be aimed at increasing general well-being and the successes or failures of policy can be measured quantitatively against the standard."
"Prosperity-as-usual has been equated with wealth. The time has come for a new prosperity, a prosperity that combines well-being with wealth. Learning to value and attain this new prosperity must start early–in the formative years of schooling–and it is this new prosperity, kindled by Positive Education, that the world can now choose."
"It really gives new meaning to imposing a cultural revolution from the bottom-up and the inside-out."
Sometimes you have to turn meanings on their head because, of course, what they really have in mind is well-being/compliance/ignorance for the ninety-nine percent with austerity, not wealth.