Dubai all set to become hub of positive education
Positive education is designed to promote character and wellbeing
A 'memorandum of friendship' between Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and the International Positive Education Network (Ipen) is set to make Dubai the regional capital of positive education, according to officials.
Positive education is designed to promote character and wellbeing alongside academic achievement as elements of a sustainable, holistic approach to education, by adopting a 'glass half-full' perspective on teaching and learning to improve education by building on existing strengths in people and systems, rather than simply addressing weaknesses.
The Ipen representatives based in Dubai will work to expand and support it's membership in the Middle East, in addition to helping raise awareness of the benefits of positive education throughout the region. Additionally, Ipen will also deliver certified enrichment programmes for teachers and leaders at Dubai private schools, as well as work with KHDA on research projects.
A new Ipen website, which will include teaching resources in both English and Arabic, is set for a launch on March 23, and will allow teachers to upload and share their own positive education resources.
"Education grounded in positivity and wellbeing gives children the skills to flourish not just at school, but at life. Ipen's work has put wellbeing on the global education agenda, and our new friendship will support the commitment that many Dubai schools have already made to happiness, as well as help schools who are starting their positive education journey," Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director-general of KHDA, said.
Sir Anthony Seldon, president of Ipen, for his part, said the agreement "will transform the lives of young people."
"It takes the wonderful work that has been happening in positive psychology and positive education and applies it to Dubai and the region. We're excited to set up our first regional branch here and to work together with KHDA to enhance the understanding and practice of positive education," he added.
Dubai's schools have taken part in a number of positive education-inspired events and initiatives since 2012, including What Works, a strengths-based series of events for and by teachers in Dubai; the Abundance Group, a project that promotes long-term collaboration between different schools; Lighthouse, an annual initiative designed to bring school principals together to learn from each other; and 100 Days of Positivity, a campaign to share schools' existing positive education practices and help them integrate wellbeing into the heart of their curricula.
Why positive education?
Students who experience an education based on positivity and wellbeing gain many skills they need to thrive in their lives, among them resilience, optimism, confidence, creativity and gratitude. Positivity and happiness contribute to improved academic performance, but are not viewed as simply a means to an end - they are also an end in themselves.
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