Positive Education

"Positive Education” or 正向教育 (zhengxiang jiaoyu) is the name CIS has adopted for its own version of positive psychology, developed with guidance from Professor Lea Waters. It is not a formal pedagogical programme. Rather, Positive Education is an ongoing discourse which CIS has embraced to inform learning, interpersonal relationships and school values.

The goal is to give every student and member of staff the awareness and means to achieve his or her fullest potential

In short, we define positivity as moving beyond wellness - defined as merely the absence of unwellness - and striving for true flourishing.

Positive Education does not deny difficulties, but seeks instead to build resilience by bolstering each person’s ability to cope with challenges based on an understanding of his or her signature strengths, and by developing other tools and strategies.

All CIS students and staff learn about Positive Education, and examples may be found throughout the school.

Beginnings & Next Steps

CIS has always held the whole child at the centre of its mission.

In 2011, with the belief that the school must attend more closely to the emotional well-being of its students in order to fulfill its mission, school leaders responsible for student support and counselling began to look for more structured ways to embed well-being into the CIS programme. Vanguard members of the faculty met with advocates and practitioners, attended seminars, visited schools, and read widely.

In 2013, CIS began working with Professor Lea Waters from The University of Melbourne to facilitate staff, student and parent learning in the area of Positive Education. With her continued support and inspiration, Positive Education has not only taken root, but is also growing in new directions.

The "PERMA" Model

The definition of well-being generally used at CIS follows a model founded on the five pillars of:

  • Positive emotions,
  • Engagement,
  • Relationships,
  • Meaning,
  • Accomplishment

"Pos Ed" In Action

Here are just a few of the attitudes and routines being discussed and practiced by CIS students and staff as they go about their daily lives:

  • Character Strengths
  • Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Gratitude (including “What Went Well” reflection)
  • Mindfulness
  • Flow
  • Perseverance
  • Process Praise
  • physical activities such as tai chi, pilates, yoga, etc.

Character Strengths

Take the free VIA Survey (youth or adult versions), and discover your own top character strengths.

IPEN Movement

CIS is a participant.

Student-Centred Learning

CIS students and teachers are also discovering kinship between Positive Education and other emerging approaches to personalised and student-centred learning they are embracing, such as “Cultures of Thinking”, the “Flipped Classroom”, and the “Responsive Classroom”.

Resources from Lea Waters

Ted Talk

Recommended Reading

These books are available in either English or Chinese.

  • The Emotional Life of Your Brain (R. Davidson & S. Begley)
  • 《情緒大腦的祕密檔案:從探索情緒形態到實踐正念冥想》理查· 戴維森、夏倫 · 貝格利著
  • The Family Virtues Guide: Simple Ways to Bring out the Best in our Children (L. Kavelin Popov, D. Popov & J. Kavelin)
  • 《家庭美德指南:用簡單的方法帶出我們孩子的真善美》鍾芳容譯
  • Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart Happy Child From 0 To 5 (J. Medina)
  • 《0-5歲寶寶大腦活力手冊: 大腦科學家告訴你如何教養出聰明、快樂、有品德的好寶寶》約翰 · 麥迪納著
  • Positive Psychology at the Movies: Using Films to Build Virtues and Character Strengths (K. Reivich & D. Wedding)
  • 《電影裡的正向心理:運用電影建立美德和堅強的人格》凱 · 瑞偉克、迪 · 偉定著
  • The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding your Inner Strengths and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles (K. Reivich and A. Shatte)
  • 《恢復能力的要素:尋找你內在的堅強和戰勝人生挑戰的七個要素》凱 · 瑞偉克、艾 · 沙特著
  • The Whole Brained Child (D. Siegel and T. Payne-Bryson)
  • 《全腦教養法》丹 · 西格爾、蒂 · 培恩布萊森著
  • The Optimistic Child (M. Seligman)
  • 《教出樂觀的孩子》馬丁 · 塞利格曼著
  • The Mindful Child (S. Kaiser-Greenland)
  • 《這樣玩,讓孩子更專注、更靈性:幫助你的孩子克服壓力,更快樂、更善良、更有同情心》蘇珊 · 凱瑟葛 · 凌蘭著