This is precisely why six teachers from Adelaide High School in South Australia were prompted to attend this year’s inaugural Positive Education Schools Association (PESA) Conference: to learn how to successfully arm their students with the resilience they need to cope with adversity.
Language teacher Angela Vassiliou was one such participant, and says the insightful event was all about empowering delegates to better tackle the issue of wellbeing from the ground up.
“Traditionally with psychology, people encounter the problems and then they go to a psychologist. What we are trying to do here, now, is catch the kids when they have no symptoms, and give them the Positive Psychology so they can flourish..,” she explains.
Centering around the theme ‘The Only Way Is Up! Functioning to Flourishing’, Vassiliou says the conference offered numerous workshop sessions which collaboratively stressed the importance of building a ‘bounce-back’ mentality in children from an early age.
She believes the event has inspired her with the knowledge that all educators can, and should, change the way that students respond to testing times – whether they be inside or outside the school gates.
“Positive Psychology is everyone’s business, not just the social worker or the psychologist or the counsellor, but unless schools realise that they have to have a (wellbeing) program that starts at A and goes to Z, it’s going to be a fairy, fluffy sort of thing,” she shares.
With a keynote address delivered by well-known psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, Vassiliou says the PD experience has sparked her desire to learn more about the science behind what makes people flourish.
“ ...We have to not delude ourselves that we are all specialists in the field. I mean, I have a lot of enthusiasm, but enthusiasm is not enough – you have to have the knowledge,” she says.