Well-being and Skills Go Hand-in-Hand

We have had many blog posts about teaching for relevance. I (Clare) was reading a chapter in Martin Seligman’s book Flourish: A Visionary new Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being. http://www.amazon.ca/Flourish-Visionary-Understanding-Happiness-Well-being-ebook/dp/B0043RSK9O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392996735&sr=8-1&keywords=martin+seligman
Here is an excerpt from Chapter Five.

  • Question one: in one or two words, what do you most want for your children?
  • If you are like the thousands of parents I’ve polled, you responded “happiness,” “confidence,” “contentment,” “fulfillment,” “balance,” “good stuff,” “kindness,” health,” satisfaction,” “love,” “being civilized,” “meaning,” and the like. In short, well-being is your topmost priority.
    • Question two: in one or two words, what do schools teach?
      • If you are like other parents, you responded, “achievement,” “thinking skills,” “success,” “conformity,” “literacy,” “math,” “work,” ‘test taking,” “discipline,” and the like. In short, what schools teach is how to succeed in the workplace.
      • Notice that there is almost overlap between the two lists. The schooling of children has, for more than a century, paved the boulevard toward adult work. I am all for success, literacy, perseverance, and discipline, but I want you to image that schools could, without compromising either, teach both the skills of well-being and the skills of achievement. I want you to image positive education.

I found his perspective refreshing and inspiring. In my teaching, I need to be mindful to address both well-being and skills and to talk to my student teachers about the need to do both.

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