At Mount Carmel College we believe that the wellbeing of all students is paramount in allowing all our students to achieve both academic and personal success.
It is important to understand that we need to provide the skill set for all our students to be the very best they can be. Positive Education will allow all our students to ‘become – just not be’ with a direct relationship to our core values given to us by the Sisters of Charity.
The Science of Positive Education
- What is Positive Education?
Positive education has been defined as education for both traditional skills and for happiness (Seligman et al., 2009). Whilst the study of happiness falls under this umbrella, so do other psychological constructs such as meaning, wisdom, creativity and many more. Positive psychology is extremely relevant to the school setting to assist in the understanding and development of high levels of psychological wellbeing in students, staff and our whole community.
- Why Positive Education?
Historically, schools have aimed for academic excellence as evidence for their success. Today there are growing numbers of schools that acknowledge the need for a more holistic approach that fosters the flourishing of the whole person (Huitt, 2010). Specifically, Positive Education seeks to combine the principles of positive psychology and best-practice-teaching to promote optimal development and flourishing in a school setting. (Norrish, Williams, O’Connor & Robinson 2013)
Positive Education recognises that the stresses and strains of the modern world have impacted on the learner, evidenced by the increasing statistics on psychological distress and mental illness in our children and adolescents. Beyond Blue has published some significant data around adolescent health that is noteworthy.
- Half of all lifelong mental health problems begin before the age of 14.
- Suicide continues to be the biggest killer of young Australians.
- Over 75% of mental health problems occur before the age of 25.
- One in seven young people aged 4 to 17 years’ experience a mental health condition in any given year.
- 13.9% of children and young people (aged 4 to 17 years) met the criteria for a diagnosis of a mental disorder in the last 12 months.
- One in ten young people aged 12-17 years old will self-harm, one in 13 will seriously consider a suicide attempt, and one in 40 will attempt suicide.
- 9% of children and young people (aged 4 to 17 years) had suffered from an anxiety disorder in the past 12 months
- Young people are less likely than any other age group to seek professional help.
- Only 31% of young women and 13% of young men with mental health problems had sought any professional help.
- Almost one-fifth of all young people aged 11 to 17 years’ experience high or very high levels of psychological distress.
- In 2019, suicide accounted for two in five deaths among people aged 15-17 years, representing an increase of 25%.
- Suicide is responsible for one-third of all deaths of young people aged 14-25 years.
- The rate of suicide among Indigenous young people is significantly higher than among non-Indigenous young people.
National Health Survey First Results – Australia 2014-15.
Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020 (Cause of Death)
This reality supports the need to take a more proactive rather than reactive approach to mental health. Mount Carmel has adopted a whole school approach to promoting wellbeing capabilities through many avenues such as Positive Education, so that all we do is mindful and timely in its willingness to foster flourishing for our students.
Instead of having solo approaches to wellbeing throughout the school based on the effort of individual teachers, every staff member is seen as a teacher of positive education and to have Positive Education principles, values, strategies/ interventions to be lived right across the whole school.
The research already documented indicates that if we can focus on wellbeing we will see the teaching of wellbeing to students, having a direct impact on academic success (Durlak, Weissberg, Dimnicki, Taylor and Schellinger 2011).
The Mount Carmel Approach
Mount Carmel College is particularly focused on the wellbeing and development of the whole person’s body, mind and spirit. Throughout the College we embed the science of positive education throughout our lessons, not just in Health and Physical Education. We also see it come alive in our URSTRONG Program (Years 1-6), Champion Life (Kindergarten – Year 6), Wellbeing Week, guest speakers, dedicated wellbeing periods in both the Primary and Secondary, Making Jesus Real and Spirit of Jesus programs and in our community engagement.