The goal of positive psychology has been to develop a “Science of Human Strengths” by empirically studying the attitudes and actions that lead to well-being and human thriving. In effect, positive psychology studies what is right with people. This course will introduce the basic concepts for a positive psychology, and encourage the application of its proven methodologies to the classroom and beyond.

Course Objectives

  1. Develop an understanding of the key concepts and applications in the field of positive psychology.
  2. Acquire insight into your own strengths and virtues and learn strategies for their applications to your life.
  3. Create awareness of positive psychology constructs in your life through reading, talking, teaching, encouraging, and listening.
  4. Understand and engage with the basic tenants of empirical research, including optimism, subjective well-being, happiness, broaden-and-build, flow state development, and self-theories.
  5. Experience increases in your subjective well-being through experiential exercises.
  6. Develop an understanding for the efficacy of a positive psychology for adolescents and emergent adults.
  7. Examine and apply strategies for individual students, for your classroom, and beyond.

Suggested Readings

Gilman, R., Huebner, E.S., and Furlong, M.J. (2009). Handbook of Positive Psychology in Schools. Routledge, New York

Clifton, D.O., Anderson, E., and Schreiner, L.A. (2006). StrengthsQuest: Discover and Develop Your Strengths in Academics, Career, and Beyond. Gallup Press. New York.

Dweck, C.S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Ballentine Books

Seligman, M.E.P. (2012) Flourish. Free Press.


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