Developing and using Character
Strengths in the classroom
Jock McGinty
MSc Teaching of
Psychology
Friday Breakout
event one: 3.00pm
J.F. Kennedy
‘We choose to
go to the moon’
https://www.youtube.com/watc
h?v=kwFvJog2dMw
• Over the past 20 years, changes in the U.K.
and world economies have raised the stakes
for educational attainment.
• U.K...
• Students need the capacity to strive for, and
succeed at, long-term and higher-order goals
so they can persist in the fa...
Martin Seligman and positive
psychology
Introduction to Positive Psychology
•Positive psychology is the scientific study of
optimal human functioning. It aims to ...
Positive Education
•Schools are not places just to learn the skills of
achievement or to use as a stepping stone for a
car...
Positive education and schools
•Positive Psychology, when applied to schools,
focuses on the intentional cultivation of st...
Authentic Happiness
• Positive emotion
• Engagement
• Meaning
• Life satisfaction
• Subjective well being
Well being
• Positive emotion
• Engagement
• Relationships
• Meaning
• Accomplishment
• PERMA
Chris Peterson and Nansook Park
http://www.viacharacter.org/www/
VIA Inventory of Strengths for Youth
(VIA-Youth)
Barbara L. Fredrickson
The Broaden and
Build Theory
Is There a Critical
Positivity Ratio for
flourishing?
Grit perseverance resilience
• Your ‘I can’ is more important
than your IQ
Seligman and
Duckworth (2005)
• Academic performance
depends in large part on
students’ self-control or
Conscientiousness,...
Ratings of character strengths
Top 5 typically
• Humour
• Love
• Gratitude
• Honesty
• Curiosity
Bottom 5 typically
• Pers...
True Grit
Angela Lee Duckworth
Grit
• A never yielding form of self-discipline
• Typifies high levels of accomplishment
• As essential as IQ to high achi...
Grit versus self-discipline
Resilience
•Resilience is the process and capacity for
successful adaption despite challenging
circumstances
•Task:
1. Thi...
Foundations for positive education
• Foundation One: Mastery and competence
• Foundation two: Positive emotions
• Foundati...
Developing mastery and competence
through skills
• Social skills such as negotiation and positive discussion
• Skills that...
Activities to develop resilient students
• Using the ABC model
ABC model
• An activating event (A) occurs, our beliefs (B)
influence the consequences (C) in two ways
• how we feel (emot...
• A = Activating Event
• I can’t answer this question on explanations of
schizophrenia
• B = Belief/thought
• C = Conseque...
• A = Activating Event
• I have my A2 Psychology exam approaching
• B = Belief/thought
• ‘I’m going to fail! This is unbea...
Possible activating events in the
classroom.
•Thinking traps
• Jumping to conclusions (coming to a conclusion without
gath...
Using critical questions
• These questions prompt people to correct their faulty
beliefs by testing the accuracy of the be...
Putting it in perspective
• On your own, identify 4 ways in which you put
students work and challenges into perspective
• ...
Improve your well being
Other techniques
• Best possible selves
• Gratitude letter
Summary
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  • Original theory of well being from 2002 – authentic happiness. 3 components that focused on measuring LS and SWB
  • Examples of questions
  • Resourcd File

    1. 1. Developing and using Character Strengths in the classroom Jock McGinty
    2. 2. MSc Teaching of Psychology Friday Breakout event one: 3.00pm
    3. 3. J.F. Kennedy ‘We choose to go to the moon’ https://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=kwFvJog2dMw
    4. 4. • Over the past 20 years, changes in the U.K. and world economies have raised the stakes for educational attainment. • U.K. adolescents have responded by dramatically increasing their educational aspirations and expectations to go to university.
    5. 5. • Students need the capacity to strive for, and succeed at, long-term and higher-order goals so they can persist in the face of the array of challenges they encounter in their studies and life.
    6. 6. Martin Seligman and positive psychology
    7. 7. Introduction to Positive Psychology •Positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal human functioning. It aims to discover and promote factors that allow individuals, communities, societies to thrive and flourish. • Haidt and Gable (2005)
    8. 8. Positive Education •Schools are not places just to learn the skills of achievement or to use as a stepping stone for a career, but institutions to educate children on how to live lives signified by good character and values. •What do positive education and positive schools look like?
    9. 9. Positive education and schools •Positive Psychology, when applied to schools, focuses on the intentional cultivation of student wellbeing and resilience, their intellectual/cognitive strengths and character strengths and the development of their sense of meaning or purpose in life. •McGrath 2009
    10. 10. Authentic Happiness • Positive emotion • Engagement • Meaning • Life satisfaction • Subjective well being
    11. 11. Well being • Positive emotion • Engagement • Relationships • Meaning • Accomplishment • PERMA
    12. 12. Chris Peterson and Nansook Park
    13. 13. http://www.viacharacter.org/www/
    14. 14. VIA Inventory of Strengths for Youth (VIA-Youth)
    15. 15. Barbara L. Fredrickson The Broaden and Build Theory Is There a Critical Positivity Ratio for flourishing?
    16. 16. Grit perseverance resilience • Your ‘I can’ is more important than your IQ
    17. 17. Seligman and Duckworth (2005) • Academic performance depends in large part on students’ self-control or Conscientiousness, concluding that “a major reason for students falling short of their intellectual potential [is] their failure to exercise self-discipline” p.939
    18. 18. Ratings of character strengths Top 5 typically • Humour • Love • Gratitude • Honesty • Curiosity Bottom 5 typically • Perseverance • Prudence • Love of learning • Self regulation • Spirituality
    19. 19. True Grit
    20. 20. Angela Lee Duckworth
    21. 21. Grit • A never yielding form of self-discipline • Typifies high levels of accomplishment • As essential as IQ to high achievement
    22. 22. Grit versus self-discipline
    23. 23. Resilience •Resilience is the process and capacity for successful adaption despite challenging circumstances •Task: 1. Think individually of 4 factors that are required for your students to become resilient 2. Discuss these factors and settle on the most important 5 3. Feedback for group discussion
    24. 24. Foundations for positive education • Foundation One: Mastery and competence • Foundation two: Positive emotions • Foundation Three: Strengths and engagement • Foundation Four: Meaning and purpose
    25. 25. Developing mastery and competence through skills • Social skills such as negotiation and positive discussion • Skills that lead to mastery and a sense of success such as thinking skills, reflection and metacognition • Goal–achievement skills such as planning, setting time- lines, solving problems and seeking assistance • Resilience skills such as optimistic thinking, courage, coping skills, helpful thinking
    26. 26. Activities to develop resilient students • Using the ABC model
    27. 27. ABC model • An activating event (A) occurs, our beliefs (B) influence the consequences (C) in two ways • how we feel (emotional response) and how we act (behavioural response). • If we are able to be more mindful of our beliefs, evaluate how realistic our beliefs are and consider alternative evidence, we might be able to detect patterns that may be counterproductive and stop the downward spiral that could occur.
    28. 28. • A = Activating Event • I can’t answer this question on explanations of schizophrenia • B = Belief/thought • C = Consequence feelings • D = Dispute
    29. 29. • A = Activating Event • I have my A2 Psychology exam approaching • B = Belief/thought • ‘I’m going to fail! This is unbearable, I can’t stand it. I’ll never be able to prepare for it, not with life the way it is right now. I’m useless, why am I bothering? There’s no point. • C = Consequence feelings • Anxious – can’t sleep – can’t focus. • D = Dispute
    30. 30. Possible activating events in the classroom. •Thinking traps • Jumping to conclusions (coming to a conclusion without gathering sufficient evidence) • Magnifying and minimizing (tendency to devote greater focus on bad events and lesser focus on good events) • Externalizing (blaming others or external circumstances for the outcome of events) • TASK: Discuss examples of when your students fall into these traps
    31. 31. Using critical questions • These questions prompt people to correct their faulty beliefs by testing the accuracy of the beliefs and evaluating their usefulness. • TASK: discuss how you would use critical questions for each of these thinking traps • Jumping to conclusions • Magnifying and minimizing • Externalizing • How does this help build resilience?
    32. 32. Putting it in perspective • On your own, identify 4 ways in which you put students work and challenges into perspective • Discuss your thoughts and settle on 5 •Thoughts • How does putting things into perspective build resilience? • Can you see any similarities with AfL?
    33. 33. Improve your well being
    34. 34. Other techniques • Best possible selves • Gratitude letter
    35. 35. Summary

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