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Positive Psychology - Applied to Child Education

How can positive psychology be applied to education (children)? Please include a case study on wisdom, optimism, hope and well being.

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Please see response attached as well (Posting 110745.doc), including one supporting article.

RESPONSE:

1. How can positive psychology be applied to education (children)? Please include a case study on wisdom, optimism, hope and well being.

Wisdom is imparted to the students through the leadership of the educators and parents, which leads to hope, optimism and well-being in the children and parents.

The following article used in the case study (and attached for convenience) has nine case studies to consider, with the concepts from positive psychology highlighted for easy referencing. Educators need to make efforts to win the confidence and respect of parents (wisdom), primarily by improving the achievement of students (hope and optimism). Then educators built strong partnerships with parents in support of student achievement, which is part of the application of positive psychology aimed at the well-being of the family and children. http://www.ed.gov/PDFDocs/urbaned.pdf .

Briefly, developing hope, optimism and well being in children, parents and educators, alike through specific strategies, which are discussed in full below the response, and also in the article attached.

Developing Hope, Optimism and Well-Being through Wisdom -

? Targeting an Important, Visible, Attainable First Goal
? Refocusing Energies on Service to Children

? Building Students' Sense of Responsibility for Appropriate Behavior and Creating an Environment in Which Students Are Likely to Behave Well
? Creating a Collective Sense of Responsibility for Improvement
? Increasing Instructional Leadership
? Aligning Instruction to Standards and Assessments
? Getting Teachers the Resources and Training Perceived Necessary to Teach
? Creating Opportunities for Teachers to Work, Plan, and Learn Together
? Winning the Confidence and Respect of Parents and Building Partnerships with Them
? Creating Additional Time for Instruction
? Creating Additional Time for Instruction (see http://www.ed.gov/PDFDocs/urbaned.pdf for details on each, and some excerpts below in the extra reading section).

Now, let' look at one of the case studies from the above article.

Example: Case Study

A study, HOPE FOR URBAN Education: A Study of Nine High-Performing, High-Poverty, Urban Elementary Schools by The Charles A. Dana Center The University of Texas at Austin (1999) has nine case studies for your to consider applying positive psychology to children (http://www.ed.gov/PDFDocs/urbaned.pdf).

Let's look at one of the case studies from the study as an illustrative example of application of techniques using wisdom to instill hope, optimism and well being in children.

CASE STUDY: Centerville Elementary School
Cahokia School District #187
East St. Louis, Ill.
1997-98 School Year

Student Enrollment ..................................................................................514
Attendance Rate.....................................................................................95%
Grades Served......................................................................................... K-6
Demographics
African American...................................................................................89%
Asian American .......................................................................................0%
Hispanic ...................................................................................................0%
Other ........................................................................................................0%
White......................................................................................................11%
Limited English Proficiency ....................................................................0%
Mobility..................................................................................................56%
Low Income (Free or Reduced-Price Lunch) ........................................86%
Key Programs: Accelerated Schools

Centerville Elementary School
Cahokia School District #187
East St. Louis, Ill.

Background

A one-story brick school building is surrounded on three sides by a wide expanse of undeveloped land. A playground area and a baseball field are enclosed by a tall fence adjacent to the back of the school. The main entrance to the school faces a busy thoroughfare that is traveled by owners of a few family businesses and residents of the modest frame homes located to the south of the school. Centerville Elementary School is a safe haven to the many children who enter its doors. At 8 a.m., in front of the main entrance, the driveway is busy with school buses and vehicles delivering energetic children arriving early to school. Most students are neatly dressed in blue and white uniforms and laden with backpacks bulging with books and homework. Amid sounds of laughter, children are playing, hugging, and eagerly anticipating the start of the school day. Teachers and parents mingle in the front entry and hallways smiling and greeting each student as they enter the building. Accustomed to the routine, the children quietly enter the library, find a place to rest their belongings and await instructions from the teacher who greets each child with a hug.

At 8:30 a.m., the children are quietly escorted from the library and are met by the principal, teachers, and parent volunteers who await them with smiles and hugs in the hallways and outside each classroom door. Children walk quietly and orderly to their respective classrooms, organize their belongings, and move quickly to their desks to await the morning greeting. The warm and pleasant voice of Principal Butler invades the silence while children listen attentively. Following numerous acknowledgments of special awards, birthdays, and the announcements for the day, everyone says the Pledge of Allegiance. Without hesitation, everyone proudly exclaims the following pledge that has become central to life at the school:

I am a winner. I behave like a winner. I treat others like winners. I will rise to
the challenge. The tools for rising to the challenge lie within me. We testify that
all I have to do is believe that I can. [Look at your neighbor and say]: Keep
striving for success. Don't ever give up!... Centerville School is a safe place
where Together, we Excel, Achieve and Mature. We are a TEAM!

Visitors are quickly engaged in the enthusiasm that is observed in all interactions between the staff, students, parents, and community. Throughout every aspect of the school day, there is evidence of the values and sentiments expressed in the daily pledge demonstrated by the students and staff.

Population Served

Centerville Elementary School was erected in 1969 in the city of East St. Louis, Illinois. The school encompasses the Centerville Township, part of the Village of Cahokia, and two unincorporated areas. It is one of 12 schools in the Cahokia School District, #187. The city of St. Louis, with its impressive skyline, is located less than a two-mile drive across the Mississippi River. In contrast, the East St. Louis community is challenged by unemployment and poverty. The perils of the city government have attracted national attention and the residents of East St. Louis have been the topic of news reports from 60 Minutes, Time, Newsweek, and Life. Historians of the community recall that the township of Centerville is "centrally" located in the Cahokia community, thus the name of Centerville was adopted. Centerville Elementary School, represented by a staff that is 50 percent African American and 50 percent white, currently serves a population of 514 students in grades kindergarten through six. The student population - 89 percent African American, and 11 percent white - is primarily from low-income families, given that 86 percent of the students are eligible to participate in the federal free or reduced-priced lunch program.

Academic Improvement

While some schools might consider the high percentage of minority and low-income students a predictor of poor student achievement, this is not the case at Centerville Elementary. In spite of poverty and long, crowded bus rides to and from the school, the student attendance rate is 95 percent. At the third-grade level, a greater percentage of Centerville students meet or exceed the state's performance goals for reading and mathematics (as measured by the IGAP: Illinois Goal Assessment Program) than do students throughout Illinois. (See Table 7.) In fact, 100 percent of the third graders tested met or exceeded state goals in mathematics. In addition, the percentage of Centerville students who took the IGAP was substantially higher than district or state averages.

Starting Points

Nine years ago, Centerville School did not exhibit many of the successes apparent today. The transformation of Centerville Elementary School from low to high performance took almost a decade. Negative stories plagued the community and school. Parents, teachers, staff, and district administrators described Centerville as a school that had earned a poor reputation within the community. Unfortunately, those negative attributes were applied not only to the school, but also to the staff and to the children that attended.

In 1989, Robert Bresnahan, the current superintendent of the Cahokia School District, was asked by the person who was then superintendent to assume the principal's role at Centerville. He was told that the school had both "the lowest test scores and the lowest morale" in the district. Most district staff regarded the school as "the place where teachers went to die."

When he entered the school the first day, Bresnahan remembered that the building looked dreary and that paint was beginning to peel after years of wear and inadequate maintenance. The classrooms were void of colorful bulletin boards. There was little evidence of student work. The students were unmotivated, showed little self-control, and lacked a sense of responsibility for keeping the ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains how positive psychology can be applied to education (children), including a case study on wisdom, optimism, hope and well being. Supplemented with an artilce on hope in urban education.

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