No matter what country you grew up in, you probably had lessons in mathematics, science and your home language. But did your school curriculum include how to deal with change or how to develop resilience? Did your lessons focus on how to build healthy relationships? Probably not. We are starting to change this for our students.
We are living in a time of rapid change, and a time where a multitude of distractions are competing for our attention. Our students have the opportunity to apply to universities all over the world - and many of them are accepted at the top universities. At the same time, research shows that the rate of mental health issues like depression at schools and universities - and in society as a whole - has increased dramatically. Top universities are now employing large teams of psychologists to support students - at universities that only accept the most motivated and academically strong students. This is one of the reasons why BBIS is introducing Positive Education into the regular curriculum.
We are not starting from scratch, we are building on what we are already doing. In the MYP years, all students follow our PSHE - Personal Social and Health Education Curriculum as part of their regular curriculum.
What is Positive Education?
Positive Education is the application of Positive Psychology (developed by Martin Seligman and his team) as part of the school culture and curriculum. You can find a short video on Positive Psychology here:
Positive Education develops skills focusing on:
Dealing with change
Fostering better relationships
Experiencing positive emotions
Developing character strengths
Engaging with the community
Setting and reaching personal goals
Finding meaning and purpose
Why Positive Education?
Positive Education teaches kids how to develop their inner strengths, how to be at their best for themselves and others, how to learn from setbacks and how to live a good life.
As you can see, we are already working on these skills with students in lessons, in PSHE, and also as part of their Service as Action or Personal Projects.
However, I do think that we can and need to teach these skills more explicitly, in a time where we are faced with technological developments at a breath-taking speed and increasing distractions that that have an impact on our physical and mental well-being.
What has happened at BBIS so far this year?
In January, Dr. Elke Paul - our consultant for Positive Education here at BBIS - introduced our plans and the principles of Positive Education to all staff at BBIS.
In February, Elke Paul ran introductory sessions about Positive Education for our grade 9 and 10 students, who will be the first to have lessons in Positive Education later on this year.
In March, grade 9 and 10 homeroom teachers and the first few members from all school sections participated in a training workshop for Positive Education, which focussed on the areas of
Building Positive Relationships and
Finding your Character Strengths
What will the next steps be?
In order to get a snapshot of how our staff and students are doing as far as their well-being is concerned, and to find out which areas are working well and where we need to support students and staff better, we are rolling out a voluntary survey to all staff and students in secondary school. You will soon receive an email, which will give you more detailed information about the survey and permission forms.
Based on the survey results, we will define the areas that we will focus on first when it comes to developing the curriculum for our students.
I am very excited that BBIS is embarking on this journey of introducing Positive Education as part of our curriculum, and hope that you see the benefit of this initiative for your children too.