Positive schools for positive learning.

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As our schools prepare for closing down for the festive season, it’s a great time to reflect on the year and begin planning for next year. It’s a fantastic opportunity to focus on the value of a positive approach to education. So, today’s post is the start of a series of posts devoted to discovering how a positive approach to education can be the most productive and effective way of maximising learning for all students. 

We know that education needs to take a holistic approach for best effect. This means considering teachers, leaders, community members as well as the students. You can’t have one positive approach, without the other.  Within each of those domains, there needs to be serious consideration to focussing on positive leadership, positive behaviours, positive emotions, positive communications, positive relationships and positive strengths. Today, I’ll talk about Positive Leadership. 

Positive Leadership means that visions, values, resources, systems and strategies are focussed in the positive, taking a positive approach to achievement. It’s like having a 

‘we can do this’ mindset rather than a punitive or ‘what will we do when we don’t’, mindset. It’s having leaders who communicate positively, focussing on strengths and having an expectation that we can, rather watching out when for if we don’t. If leaders have an unswerving belief that we (staff, students, community) will do the best, people have a tendency to all step up and reach that expectation. Those leaders who don’t have the confidence to do that, and are more apologetic or punitive, will see staff, students and community, also reach that expectation. 

If you are in education or your children are at school, I would ask that you consider these questions about the leadership in your (or your child’s) school and reflect on positive leadership levels.  

  • Is there a shared vision on the importance of wellbeing and does the leadership team facilitate this agenda?

  • Do leadership focus on others’ strengths and use those strengths to maximise potential?

  • Are there support networks for staff and for students that are clear and well used?

  • Are there open and clear opportunities for all staff and students to practice leadership skills?

  • Are new families aware of the wellbeing agenda at your school?

  • Are problematic issues actively and constructively addressed by your leadership team?

  • Are staff and students encouraged to participate in maintaining a positive climate or culture at your school?

Depending on your answers, you may like to think about how you can encourage a more positive approach to education in your or your child’s setting. There is so much research that shows that a positive mindset in the learning process has many benefits and for this to most effective, it needs to start with leadership.

Next post I will focus on how taking a positive approach to behaviours in schools, has a huge benefit for learning.

Emma Hackett