Centre for Wellbeing & Positive Education
At Christ’s College we aim to create an environment where boys flourish.
John Quinn joined College in 2017 in the new role of Director of Wellbeing and Positive Education. John will lead a three year implementation that will see positive education embedded across programmes both inside and outside the classroom.
2017 saw the start of the Centre for Wellbeing and Positive Education, an innovative approach by Christ’s College to ensure every boy flourishes and develops the personal skills he needs to thrive throughout his life.
Good mental health is a prerequisite for effective learning, and the Centre aims to bring positive psychology and best teaching practice together to promote good relationships, foster resilience and encourage positive lifestyle choices.
It will be embedded within the curriculum this year and taught through Year 9, 10 and 11 health programmes and through the Year 12 and Year 13 MANifesto programme.
John Quinn, Director of Wellbeing and Positive Education says combining the science of positive psychology and best practice teaching is not novel. Nor is it peculiar to New Zealand schools.
“It’s a response to a need in society, and is being introduced throughout many countries, as schools focus on the means to give students the best tools to equip them for life. These are not only the academic or sporting ones, but the qualities and grit which will accompany them throughout their lives.”
It is a means of helping students devise their own unique GPS system or personalised road map to assist them to flourish.
“The commitment is to work with our students, engage in all aspects of their education, encourage, motivate, and support them as they develop the skills and attributes they need to thrive.”
The focus will be on specific skills that assist students to strengthen their relationships, build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness, (being present), and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
The three focuses going into 2018 will be:
Character strengths – understanding their character strengths and how they can use them daily.
Growth mindset - having a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset! Having the will and courage to try new things, embracing failure and reinforcing the process, not the outcome.
Mindfulness – focusing on the moment and being able to express compassion and gratitude.
Parents won’t be left behind, either! Parent education workshops will be held during the year, the first on 25 January 2018 at 7pm with Matt Scholes, an Australian expert on positive psychology and skilled in coaching concepts.
How will the Positive Education programme play out in 2018?
All students in Year 9, 10 and 11 will experience it directly within their health classes. Staff will lead a subtle shift in philosophy, so that implicitly through the subjects they teach, they will reflect the training they’ve already received.
Where to from here?
Already we see ourselves as a trail blazer, and in the future want to be a training centre for New Zealand, a scientific research ‘hub’ for those from diverse institutions and backgrounds, and a training facility for other schools.
Performance programme 2018
The performance skills of College’s top athletes will be enhanced by a ‘performance programme’ to provide additional coping tools – for on and off the field.