Embedding Well-being into School: A Case Study of Positive Education Before and During COVID-19 Lockdowns
Journal of School and Educational Psychology,
Vol. 2 No. 2 (2022),
10 October 2022,
For more than a decade, the field of positive education has amassed growing evidence that school-based well-being interventions support and boost the mental health of students. Outcomes such as hope, subjective well-being, life satisfaction, pro-social behavior, school engagement and academic grades have all been shown to significantly increase following positive education interventions. While the growing science has created confidence about the outcomes that can be attained through a positive education approach, significantly less scientific attention has been given to the processes that schools employ to embed a positive education approach. In other words, the field has provided information about what positive education can lead to but has published comparatively little on how positive education becomes infused into schools. The aim of the current qualitative paper is to provide a descriptive case study of one school’s positive education approach before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. A single-case study design was used to conduct a detailed description of how one school has embedded a positive education approach using the SEARCH framework which contains six pathways to well-being: strengths, emotional management, attention and awareness, relationships, coping, and habits and goals. Descriptions are provided for how SEARCH was embedded during on-campus learning before COVID-19 and how it was utilized during two periods of distance learning during the global pandemic. Results from the current study suggest that having a positive education framework, training all staff, having both student and staff well-being initiatives and cultivating a common language for positive education are core processes that create a sustained and adaptive culture of wellbeing. We hope that this case study inspires schools to use student well-being as a prevention tool in good times and as a crisis management tool in times of adversity.