An Exploration of Teachers’ Approaches to Positive Education and Character Development: Curriculum Implementation, Assessment, and Outcomes
Pissoto Moreira, Flavia
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Adolescence is highly influenced by significant physical, biological, and psychological changes, as well as by one’s environment; in turn, negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, and violent behaviour can arise if these influences are not constructive. Additionally, not all children have family support or are raised in an environment that fosters their positive development. In this context, schools may play a vital role, especially through the implementation of positive education and character development programs. Although the current literature presents several studies in this area, there is no consensus in the scholarship regarding the most appropriate practice for implementing positive education and character development initiatives; moreover, there is scarce literature on assessment measurements in this domain. Based on this premise, I explored how an elementary and a secondary teacher at a private boarding school in Southern Ontario implement and assess positive education in the curriculum. Further, I examined the outcomes achieved through positive education by these teachers, as well as the related impact on students’ character development. Using a qualitative thematic analysis, I was provided with substantial data through in-depth interviews with the participants. Findings indicate that teachers are the main individuals responsible for the development of positive education initiatives, and their preparedness and motivation to teach promotes positive outcomes. Furthermore, although no formal strategies to measure their outcomes were reported, the study findings reveal that participants’ approaches to positive education – either through character strengths or the promotion of positive states, such as positive relationships, engagement, and positive emotions – have constructively influenced the development of students’ characters.