Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Positive Education

Knox grammar  held the first Australian positive education conference on 5th and 6th April, 2013. Positive mindset and psychology are great interests of mine and I was most excited to be able to experience this conference. I attended with colleague Di from AusSIP (see note at end of post). The aspect I like most about Positive education is its proactive approach.  It allows for opportunity to flourish. Positive education includes the entire school community.  We often hear of improving "21st century" learning, pedagogy, andragogy and support mechanisms for students, however how often do we hear about the importance of staff wellbeing?  Positive education is meant for all.  It is far reaching.

To discover more about Positive education read here.  To catch up on all the conference tweets, follow the link to the #auspoed storify.

During this conference I could have quite happily be transported back in time as a student- to experience education at Knox. How I wish every student across all postcodes, could access the amazing opportunities these young men do!

We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails.

Keynotes and workshop presenters included: 

-Professor Herb Marsh, Centre for Positive Psychology and Education, University of Western Sydney.
-Dr Dianne Vella-Brodrick,  University of Melbourne.
-Dr Lindsay Oades, Sydney Business School University of Wollongong.
-Associate Professor Lea Waters, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Melbourne University.
-Professor Vijaya Manicavasaga, Black Dog Institute.
    -International keynote Dr Christian Van Niewerburgh, Director, Coaching Psychology Unit, University of East London 
    -Dr Mathew White, Director of Well-Being and Positive Education, St Peter’s College, Adelaide.
    -Dan Haesler Education Consultant - 'Positive Psychology – A Teacher’s Perspective'
    -Dr William DeJean -‘Identity and wellbeing'
    -Dr Suzy Green, The Positivity Institute 
-Dr Steve Zolezzi, Knox Grammar School

Essentially +ve education allows:

  • Movement forward and is solution focused
  • Reframing of setbacks
  • young people to regulate positive emotions
  • achievement of meaningful goals
  • for supportive relationships
  • young people to thrive.

For those educators and parents that would like access to resources, check out Bite back  - Mental fitness, Blogs, Quotes of the week, Think tanks, Snap Chat and so on. Their "bookshelf" is particularly handy. Other resource links can be found under "Still curious" further on in the post.  Bite Back's quote of the week this week, happens to be one of my favourites:

Quote of the Week

"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
- C.S. Lewis

If you missed this conference and you are interested in discovering more about how Positive education can enhance your students and staffs time at school (and beyond) try and attend the Positive schools 2013 Mental health and wellbeing conference in Melbourne 6th and 7th June, 2013.

Still curious? More here:


  • The evidence for increasing well-being and achievement through practicing gratitude is overwhelming.
  • Gratitude is? A worldview towards noticing and appreciating positives in life and acknowledging these positives. You find what you are looking for!
  • As leaders, colleagues, students we should SHOW our gratitude more.
  • Gratitude is a choice. You get to choose it. What do I focus my attention on? Thought of the day. Choose positive!
  • The importance of being proactive not reactive.
  • Positive education underpins a meaningful and productive "life at school". 
  • #teacherwellbeing is integral!  How to keep the beachball in air while juggling teaching load and personal life? Think Oxygen mask in a plane- advice is to provide yourself with oxygen first and then assist others. There is a valid reason for that. Is this happening to the extent it should in Australian schools?
  • Seek out this book "Wounded by school" by Kirsten Olson.
  • Building capacity and high expectations can impact positively on learning outcomes equally low expectations....
  • Keep on keeping on. To all those educators and parents that believe relationships matter!
  • Positive education can be seen as "fluff" but is both essential and desired. What do most parents wish for? An academic A+ student or a happy child?  
  • Plan, plan, plan. Train. Accept the cynic- keeps you on your toes. Embrace the change.
  • Positivity is infectious! Positive psychology is very flexible. Start with small and be successful. Listen to kids. Listen to each other.
  • Need to take time. Enjoy the journey. It's not meant to be fast or tick the box. Positive education is ever evolving. Make the investment. Find champions.
  • Positive education is alive and beating in many schools: encouraging!

Tom Harkin
#studentvoice sharing projects with educators

Looking at life with a sense of humour!

 Positive education is all about THRIVING not just SURVIVING. Let's make it happen! 


NOTE:  For the past several years, I have worked 3 days part time at an independent secondary school in Castle Hill, Australia. In addition to teaching, I now also work 2 days a week as a Partnership broker with AusSIP (Australian schools and Industry Partnerships).  You can read more about partnership brokers here and here.  I am thoroughly enjoying this new role and aim to also blog about my PB journey. AusSIP is a non-profit business that establishes, builds and enhances partnerships between schools, businesses, parents and the wider community. 

Want to know more?


  1. Wow - this is a fantastic post. It is too easy to focus on the negatives and let ourselves become overwhelmed. If we begin with gratitude it takes us outside ourselves and we can then realise there is much to celebrate at work and in our personal lives. Thanks for a great wrap about your experience at this conference Jeanette. Even if we weren't there we can all have some fabulous 'take-aways' from your reflections.'

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