Educators, administrators, students and anyone concerned about the inclusion of character and well-being principles in schools traveled from all around the globe to attend The World Positive Education Accelerator (WPEA): Second Festival of Positive Education + Appreciative Inquiry Summit last month in Fort Worth, Texas.
Held in the Fort Worth Convention Center, more than 30 countries were represented with roughly 900 like-minded individuals dedicated to integrating more positive education in global educational systems.
This conference’s unique approach went beyond topics of learning and achievement in math, science, social studies and language, sharing the latest in research on curricula that boost student well-being, resilience and “grit.” This focus aids the development of individuals who reach their full potential of learning and leading through a positive mindset and critical problem-solving.
With a growing number of children struggling today to cope with challenges at school and at home—ranging from technology distractions and innovations to increasing teen depression, bullying and school violence—the need is urgent, participants say.
“Essentially we’re redesigning what 21st century global education looks like,” says Sir Anthony Seldon, president of the International Positive Education Network (IPEN), a co-convener of the four-day conference with the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College. “We want educators to walk away empowered with the tools, resources and connections to make real, lasting change.”
Advocates for positive education, including Lea Waters, Ph.D., a psychology researcher at the University of Melbourne in Australia, say that when we focus on our children’s strengths and have the right tools to teach character, we can see grades, life satisfaction, self-confidence and positive emotions improve. This gives our children the best chance to cope with the struggles that life may bring.