Ever wish that you had been taught real life skills in school?
Proper, useful stuff: like what to do to calm yourself down when the anxiety hits, how to prevent burnout, and what it takes to be truly happy. I don’t know about you, but the “life orientation” syllabus I encountered left a lot to be desired.
Imagine how resilient, happy and successful we’d all be if learning well-being was considered just as important as learning mathematics, or biology.
In fact, research has shown that character strengths like grit can be just as important as IQ when it comes to academic performance. So there is really no reason not to teach them.
IPEN: Meet the International Positive Education Network.
This is exactly what IPEN stands for. Last Friday I had the privilege of attending the IPEN Mental Health and Wellbeing Education Conference to hear all about their amazing work bringing together teachers, parents, academics, students, schools, governments... and so on, to promote positive education.
Positive education is a new paradigm of education in which character and well-being are taught together with academics.
Think teachers who respond in ways that develop a “thrive on challenge (rather than we threatened by it)” mindset, and students who attend classes in which they consider what is important to them and how they can live meaningfully, who meditate regularly to manage their stress levels.
Schools like this exist?
Yes! Just last year, I worked with teachers and students to promote wellbeing in Johannesburg schools. Worldwide, education is progressing... and changing lives for the better.
If you’re a parent, or plan to be one day, you’ll be happy to hear that research shows that students who attend these schools experience significantly improved mental health, increased life satisfaction, and that they point to the programme for enabling them to become confident, resilient and self-accepting.
A population that's not only successful, but happy, too. Not constantly anxious. Not burnt out. Calm, content and positively connected. What more could we want for the upcoming generation?