Summer Professional Development: Positive Education Resources for Teachers

The summer break presents a valuable opportunity for teachers to invest in their professional growth and enhance their classroom practices. In this article, we will share a curated list of recommended resources—books, online courses, and podcasts—that teachers can explore during the summer break to expand their knowledge and incorporate positive education strategies into their teaching practices.


Tamara Judge

8/15/20235 min read


The summer break presents a valuable opportunity for teachers to invest in their professional growth and enhance their classroom practices. One area of focus that can have a profound impact on both teachers and students is positive education. By incorporating principles of positive psychology and wellbeing into teaching, educators can create a more engaging, supportive and impactful learning environment. In this article, we will share a curated list of recommended resources—books, online courses, and podcasts—that teachers can explore during the summer break to expand their knowledge and incorporate positive education strategies into their teaching practices. Get ready to embark on a journey of professional development that will leave a lasting impact on your classroom and the wellbeing of your students.


Vintage Innovation: Leveraging Retro Tools and Classic Ideas to Design Deeper Learning Experiences” by John Spencer

This book is a game-changer! It completely transforms our understanding of innovation and inspires teachers to blend the best of what we know works with exciting new ideas. As a former teacher who thrived on trying out fresh approaches in the classroom, I can't help but wish I had this book back then. It's bursting with inspiration and creativity, urging teachers to keep learning by embracing play, creativity, and classroom-based research that combines the tried and true with the never tried before. Get ready to supercharge your teaching and unleash your inner innovator with this incredible resource!

Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behaviour (or, How to Understand Those Who Cannot Be Understood)” by Thomas Erikson

Effective communication is the secret ingredient in teaching, no matter who you're talking to - students, colleagues, parents, or others involved in education. In our 'Positive Psychology for Education' INSET training, we emphasise that every word we say is filtered through the unique lens, biases, and perspectives of the listener - and this book agrees! Communication can be the key that unlocks strong relationships and limitless learning potential. While we're not entirely convinced that there are only four types of human behaviour (surely there must be more!), this book is an incredible starting point for improving how we connect with others and becoming more aware of our own communication style. Get ready to embark on a journey of better relationships and heightened self-awareness with this fantastic read!

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth” by Amy C. Edmondson

Transform your team and leadership skills with this incredible book! It provides practical advice on how to cultivate psychological safety and foster a culture of learning, innovation, and growth. Even though it's not specifically for schools, every educator I've met dreams of creating a classroom where students feel comfortable expressing ideas, asking questions, and admitting mistakes without fear. This book dives deep into the concept of psychological safety and gives you a step-by-step guide to bringing it to life in your classroom. It's time to create an environment that supports learning, sparks creativity, and ensures sustainable growth for everyone involved. Don't miss out on this blueprint for success!

This Is Your Own Time You’re Wasting: The SUNDAY TIMES bestseller from the hilarious teacher duo and podcast hosts, the Two Mr Ps” by Lee Parkinson (Author), Adam Parkinson (Author) (See also “PUT A WET PAPER TOWEL ON IT: The Weird and Wonderful World of Primary Schools”)

Prepare to laugh out loud this summer with this hilarious book! It's the perfect read to bring back those familiar classroom memories and make you realise that you're not alone in the unpredictable world of teaching. Packed with anecdotes and stories that perfectly blend nostalgia and humour, this book will have you nodding along and chuckling at the relatable chaos of working with children and young people. If you enjoyed their first book, "Put a Wet Paper Towel On It," you're in for a treat with this sequel. It takes a lighthearted approach to the challenges of modern-day teaching and the weekly adventure of managing a lively classroom. Get ready for a good laugh and a well-deserved break from the pressures of teaching!

Online Courses:

"The Science of wellbeing" offered for free by Yale University on Coursera (see also “The Science of wellbeing for Teens”)

Boost your happiness and develop productive habits with this engaging course! Join Professor Laurie Santos as she uncovers the secrets to true happiness and debunks common misconceptions along the way. Discover the fascinating quirks of the mind that influence our thinking patterns and explore groundbreaking research that can empower us to make positive changes. Throughout the course, you'll embark on a series of exciting challenges that are specifically designed to enhance your wellbeing. By the end, you'll be equipped with the tools and knowledge to incorporate a wellness activity into your daily life, setting yourself up for a happier and more fulfilling journey ahead.

"Positive Psychology: Resilience Skills" offered for free by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera

Discover the secrets to building resilience in your personal and professional life with Dr. Karen Reivich. Join this insightful course to delve into the foundational research on resilience, exploring key factors like mental agility and optimism that can help you bounce back from challenges. Explore a range of resilience interventions, from cognitive strategies to conquer anxiety, to boosting positive emotions through gratitude. You'll even learn a vital skill for enhancing relationships. Throughout the course, be inspired by real-life examples of individuals who have successfully applied resilience techniques to thrive in various aspects of their lives. Get ready to unlock your inner strength and embrace a more resilient you!


The Science of Happiness Podcast” - PRX and Greater Good Science Center

Get ready for an awesome podcast that's right up my alley as a positive psychologist! It's jam-packed with scientifically proven tips and tricks to boost your happiness, improve your sleep, and even guide you on asking for help. You'll get all the facts and evidence-based interventions you need to live your best life. So grab your headphones and get ready to dive into this podcast filled with valuable insights and practical strategies for a happier, healthier you!

Positive Vibe Tribe” - Jonathan Belle

Supercharge your mornings with the Positive Vibe Tribe podcast! Each episode is like a refreshing shot of positivity, delivering bite-sized quotes, affirmations, and uplifting vibes to kickstart your day. These quick bursts of inspiration, usually less than a minute long, pack a powerful punch. Episodes are usually less than a minute long, but the insightful and thought-provoking messages are just enough to make you pause, reflect, and consider how you can bring these uplifting messages into your own life. So get ready to infuse your mornings with positivity and set yourself up for an amazing day ahead!

The Tim Ferriss Show” - Tim Ferriss

Dive into the secrets of success with the ultimate show for achievers, dubbed as the 'Oprah of audio' by The Observer! This podcast uncovers the tried-and-true tactics, tools, and daily routines that world-class performers swear by to reach new heights. Want to know how Hugh Jackman starts his mornings, the books that inspire Margaret Atwood, or the positive habits of Mark Zuckerberg? Look no further! Embark on a captivating journey where Tim Ferriss unravels the morning rituals, favourite reads, and empowering habits of extraordinary individuals. Get ready to be inspired and discover the keys to your own success!

By exploring these resources, teachers can gain valuable insights into positive psychology, wellbeing, character strengths, resilience, and creating positive classroom environments. These evidence-based approaches can transform teaching practices and have a positive impact on students' academic performance, social-emotional development, and overall wellbeing.

Remember, the summer break is not only a time for relaxation and rejuvenation but also an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Embrace these recommended resources, dive into the world of positive education, and equip yourself with the knowledge and strategies to create a classroom that nurtures the wellbeing and success of every student.


As teachers, we have the power to shape the lives of our students and create positive learning experiences. The summer break is the ideal time to invest in professional development and explore resources that can enhance our knowledge of positive education. By delving into recommended books, enrolling in online courses, listening to podcasts, and attending workshops or conferences, we can gain valuable insights and strategies rooted in positive psychology. Let's take advantage of this summer to empower ourselves with the tools to model positive wellbeing and create engaging, supportive, and thriving classrooms. As we continue on this journey of growth and wellbeing, our students will benefit immensely, fostering a love for learning and a foundation for lifelong flourishing.