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Positive Education for School and Family

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Prof. Gabriel Mario Rodrigues

Gabriel Mario Rodrigues – Chairman of the Advisory Board at Kroton Educacional and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES (The Association of Owners of Private Higher Education Institutions)

“People who are not afraid to dare tend to optimism. They do not fear suffering and failure. They know that the strogn is not the one who always hits the mark, but the one that risks being wrong and survives the hardest fall.” (Flavio Gikovate – Psychologist)

What is the difference between the optimist and the pessimist? The first is always full of plans and projects and, for the other, life is not good and everything will go wrong.

The specialist Ana Maria Diniz once pointed out in an article published in Estadão (Optimism! It must be taught – and practiced – in all schools) that “contrary to what one thinks, optimism is not an unchanging trait: it is a way of thinking that can be learned and improved. ” She also cited the American psychologist Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania who claims there is no better place to train this skill than in school.

Enthusiastic about optimism in the school environment, Seligman, one of the pioneers of positive psychology, has been dedicated to disseminating and testing his theories about the power of positive attitudes also in education. He does this through positive education, an educational approach he designed to improve learning and help students thrive and reach their full potential from the emphasis on individual skills and personal motivation.

The positive education proposal is valid both for the classroom and for the family environment. Therefore, choosing the best way to educate children requires responsibility and can be a great challenge for the family. On the one hand, there are those who opt for a more severe and punitive stance. On the other hand, the most compliant and permissive in relation to the wills and attitudes of the children.

Without going to extremes, positive education is the search for the balance between firm limits and the incentive to the freedom and autonomy of the child. It is the positive discipline which is increasingly gaining fans who are concerned with the comprehensive formation of students, educating with a focus on affection, understanding, respect and mutual learning.

“Unlike traditional education, the positive view is that punishment or blackmail, for example, is not constructive for the child’s good development. (…) Positive education acts in the socio-emotional sphere of the individual and generates cognitive improvements. In that sense, it improves the school performance, the conviviality with the people and strengthens the bond between the children and other members of the family. “[1]

And how to apply this concept in practice? For some parents and educators who already “work” the education of children in this line we will not bring news:

  1. Help the child think
  2. Encourage her to reflect on one’s own attitudes, on everyday situations, and on other issues that make her reflect
  3. Ask questions by encouraging them and helping them to participate in day-to-day problem solving
  4. Encourage her in building independence and autonomy

The Brazilian Society of Coaching also addresses the issue, signaling the importance of not adhering to conventional education for the training of adults prepared to face the real dilemmas and challenges of the contemporary world.

“In addition to the traditional disciplines, this educational model – also called positive emotional education – stimulates the learning of skills and abilities associated with human well-being and flowering, stimulating an increase in the happiness level of students and growing seeds for the flowering of a more positive world. ”

Scholars of the subject ensure that students become more resilient, self-efficacious, optimistic, hopeful, and emotionally smarter when their development is supported by positive psychology. This concept also leads to higher quality interpersonal relationships early on, establishing healthy and lasting relationships. And they say more, that such students will have less depression and anxiety and more health, satisfaction with life and happiness.

For the psychologist Sálua Omais [2], the methodologies that unite psychology and education, focusing more on desired behaviors than on unwanted behaviors, brings more results, teaching both wellness and achievement skills without compromising the pedagogical program:

“Positive humor produces higher levels of attention and more creative thinking in students, as opposed to negative humor, sadness, and demotivation, which reduce attention, concentration, and performance. Several benefits will be generated in the school environment, such as improvement in learning, attention level, concentration, school interest, behavior associated with physical health, social and family relationships, and prevention of emotional disorders in students such as depression , anxiety and problems of social conduct. ”

She is categorical in affirming that positive education still works to rescue values that are being lost in society, “such as honesty, loyalty, perseverance, kindness, courage, justice, humility, as well as several other forces, which we call of forces of character “. And she emphasizes that the model can be applied to any student, anywhere in the world, regardless of culture or religion, because these forces of character are common to all societies.

We need to reflect on all this in both home and school education. Often school failure can stem from the character of students, not just the school system or other conditions that victimize them.

It is the role of the school to help the student with the qualities and resources that he has, instead of seeking what he should have, and thus contributing to his growth and development as a human being.



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Master of Arts in Political Science, California State University Northridge. Twenty five years experience in executive functions at Brazilian colleges and universities. Writer, lecturer. and consultant is, presently, educational editor for Brazil Monitor