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The State of Positive Education


Positive education views school as a place where students not only cultivate their intellectual minds, but also develop a broad set of character strengths, virtues, and competencies, which together support their well-being. What this looks like differs from country to country and school-to-school, but at its core is the ‘character + academics’ approach to education. The International Positive Education Network (IPEN) supports and drives such a change in education around the world.

Widespread support is necessary for the success of the positive education movement. We need to be demonstrably right too — philosophically and scientifically. Unless we can show that the arguments for positive education are true in practice, policy, and research, then we will not change education in the way the IPEN is proposing. This report thus attempts to provide the strongest evidence from research, policy and practice from the past decade to support positive education.

This report is broken into five sections: one leader’s perspective and introduction to positive education and its history; case studies from primary, secondary, and tertiary schools around the world that are actively implementing positive education; and policy perspectives on positive education. A glossary of key terms is included at the end.

Access the full report here.



David Bott, Head of Positive Education, Geelong Grammar School

Dr. Hector Escamilia, Rector of Tecmilenio

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, The Imagination Institute; Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Margaret L. Kern, Senior Lecturer Centre for Positive Psychology Melbourne Graduate School of Education he University of Melbourne

Christian Krekel, PhD Student at the Paris School of Economics (PSE), a Research Officer at the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), London School of Economics (LSE)

Dr. Raphaela Schlicht-Schmälzle, Research Associate, Office of International Studies in Education, Michigan State University

Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor of Buckingham University, President of IPEN

Dr. Martin Seligman, The Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology, Director, Positive Psychology Center University of Pennsylvania

Associate Professor Mathew A White PhD , Director of Wellbeing & Positive Education – St Peter’s College  Adelaide; Principal Fellow, Centre for Positive Psychology, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, The University of Melbourne.

Editor: Emily E. Larson, Director of The International Positive Education Network

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