If asked to search for an answer to the question; what is the most reliable determinant of a student’s future success, where would you look? Would you, go to google, read a book, question your teachers, ask your parents, or chat with friends?
Last week I attended a course, based on the Positive Psychology research of Martin Seligman. The facilitator, Dr Toni Noble, demonstrated the benefits of positive psychology practices in the classroom. This highly practical course provided participants with useful strategies that have direct relevance in the classroom. It was clear to all of us, that the research supported what we already knew – a student’s overall feeling of ‘wellness’ has a direct impact on their success at school. Put simply, happy students, who feel valued and supported by the school community are more likely to succeed than students who feel marginalised and lonely.
The question then becomes – how do we support and nurture young people so they may experience wellness rather than dis-ease? Professional development courses which provide teachers with functional, tangible tools to help young people recognise emotions and foster cooperative social behaviours, are a positive start. Of course we need to provide schools which are a safe haven filled with encouragement and opportunity.
However equally important is a student’s choice to participate. In fact, as individuals within a school and wider community, we need to be mindful of mindset. We need to ask ourself – how willing are we to take responsibility for our own feelings and behaviours? We need to encourage young people to do the same.
Therefore as useful as google, books, teachers, parents and friends may be, when we want to search for answers, perhaps it is equally important to ask questions of ourself.
So maybe what I should have asked at the beginning of this post was… have you ever asked yourself, what determines MY success?
If I were to answer this question, I would reply, ME.
How will you respond?