Five ‘Whole School’ Benefits of Positive Psychology in Education

Positive education is shaping a brighter future for schools, pupils and parents by prioritising wellbeing and positive psychology coaching in and out of the classroom with amazing results.

Zeena Hicks

4/17/20235 min read


Education has always been a key influence in society. It shapes futures, moulds young minds, and prepares individuals for many challenges that lie ahead. However, education is not just about sharing knowledge; it's also about nurturing a positive mindset, developing social and emotional skills, and promoting overall wellbeing. Positive Education is an approach to education that emphasises the importance of wellbeing and positive psychology in and out of the classroom. In this blog post, we will explore five crucial benefits of positive education and how we can harness it to help shape a brighter future for our young people and their influencers.

Five Benefits of Positive Education:

Positive education has numerous benefits, not only for pupils and teachers, but their parents and carers too. It is a whole school approach which permeates throughout the school and out into the community, with a focus on values, strengths and appreciation of individuality. It also has robust research to support its efficacy. Here are five reasons for embedding Positive Psychology in Education:

1. Boosts Academic Performance:

Research has shown that positive education can significantly improve academic performance. In fact, students in schools that embrace positive education have demonstrated higher levels of engagement and achievement than their counterparts who do not. If you are a parent wanting your child to excel academically, you may wish to consider enrolling them in a school that practices positive education. (1)

2. Enhances Social and Emotional Skills:

Positive education promotes the essential development of social and emotional skills, such as empathy, resilience, and self-awareness. These skills not only help pupils succeed academically but also prepare them for success in other aspects of life. The development of social and emotional skills can improve relationships, overall wellbeing, and reduce the risk of future mental health challenges. (2)

3. Improves Wellbeing:

Positive education interventions, such as gratitude practices, mindfulness exercises, and positive psychology interventions, have been found to have a positive impact on wellbeing. Students who are exposed to positive education are more likely to experience positive emotions and less likely to suffer from symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. This can lead to happier and healthier schools and a future workforce. (3)

4. Strengthens Teacher-Student Relationships:

Positive education also benefits teachers by providing them with the skills to develop stronger relationships with their students, not only improving the classroom environment but also helping reduce teacher burnout. When teachers are equipped with mindfulness and social-emotional competencies, they are better able to connect with their pupils, create a more positive learning environment, and have better work-life balance. (4)

5. Fosters Positive Parental Involvement:

Positive education also cares for the wellbeing of parents and carers, creating an aligned, unified voice for pupils in and out of the classroom, encouraging enhanced communication, and improving positive school-parent relationships. Schools that implement positive education are more likely to involve parents in school activities and events, which can strengthen parental engagement and create a more supportive school community. Parents who are involved in their child's education are more likely to be invested in their child's academic and social-emotional success. (5)

Techniques for Implementing Positive Education:

Implementing positive education in the classroom will require an intentional effort on the part of teachers and school administrators. Here are some tips for implementing positive education in the classroom:

Create a Positive Learning Environment:

  • Use positive language to encourage and motivate students.

  • Encourage positive behavior by recognising and praising students for their efforts.

  • Foster a sense of community by creating a classroom culture where everyone feels valued and respected.

Develop Mindfulness Practices:

  • Promote mindfulness practices such as meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga to help students develop self-awareness and manage stress.

  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Encourage Positive Relationships:

  • Fostering a culture of respect, trust, and open communication in the classroom.

  • Encourage collaborative learning activities that promote teamwork and cooperation.

  • Help students develop positive relationships with their peers and adults in the school community.

Use Positive Reinforcement:

  • Use positive reinforcement such as praise, rewards, and recognition to encourage positive behavior and academic achievement.

  • Provide constructive feedback that highlights areas of improvement and offers encouragement.

Teach Social and Emotional Skills:

  • Teach social and emotional skills such as empathy, resilience, and self-awareness through various classroom activities and discussions.

  • Provide opportunities for students to practice these skills through role-playing, peer-to-peer counseling, and other interactive activities.

  • Help students develop a growth mindset, encouraging them to see challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.

Case Studies of Positive Education:

Numerous case studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of positive education in the classroom over the last decade. Here are a just a few examples:

Geelong Grammar School in Australia: This school implemented a Positive Education Programme which focuses on developing wellbeing, character, and academic performance. The programme has led to improved academic performance, decreased stress, and increased wellbeing among students.

The Penn Resilience Programme in the US: This programme teaches students social and emotional skills such as resilience, self-awareness, and problem-solving. The programme has led to improved academic performance, decreased stress, and increased wellbeing among students.

Taipei European School Wellbeing Framework: Informed by both positive psychology and coaching psychology with a recognition that ‘no-one size fits all’. This programme develops mental toughness, resilience and positive change, resulting in higher grades and sustainable wellbeing.


Positive education is an approach to education that emphasises the importance of wellbeing and positive psychology in the classroom. This whole school approach has numerous benefits for pupils, staff and parents, including increased academic performance, enhanced social and emotional skills, improved wellbeing, and stronger teacher-pupil-parent relationships. Implementing positive education requires an intentional effort on the part of teachers and school administrators. However, the benefits of positive education make it clear that the effort is well worth it. As we look towards the future, it's clear that positive education has the potential to shape a brighter future for all. By fostering a positive learning environment, teaching social and emotional skills, and promoting wellbeing, we can help prepare students not just for academic success, but for success in all aspects of life. As educators and leaders, it's our responsibility to embrace positive education and help create a more sustainable, positive future for the next generation.


(1) Seligman, M. E. P., Ernst, R. M., Gillham, J., Reivich, K., & Linkins, M. (2009). Positive education: Positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), 293-311. doi: 10.1080/03054980902934563

(2) Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405-432. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x

(3) Bolier, L., Haverman, M., Westerhof, G. J., Riper, H., Smit, F., & Bohlmeijer, E. (2013). Positive psychology interventions: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. BMC Public Health, 13(1), 119. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-13-119

(4) Jennings, P. A., Frank, J. L., Snowberg, K. E., Coccia, M. A., & Greenberg, M. T. (2013). Improving classroom learning environments by cultivating awareness and resilience in education (CARE): Results of a randomized controlled trial. School Psychology Quarterly, 28(4), 374-390. doi: 10.1037/spq0000035

(5) Miller, M. D., Dikkers, A. G., & Coe, K. (2018). Fostering parent and family involvement through positive education. International Journal of Educational Research, 87, 1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ijer.2017.11.005