Teaching Character and Creating Positive Classrooms

Positive psychology meets K-12 pedagogy. This course explores key ideas of positive psychology and shows how great teachers apply those lessons to maximize student engagement and accomplishment. Through lectures, discussions, interviews and footage of great educators in action, you’ll learn how to integrate character-based objectives into your own teaching.

About The Course

Psychology, sociology, and neuroscience point to the existence of a set of developable character strengths that serve as building blocks for positive life outcomes. That’s why, in our view, character development and content mastery act as the two complementary halves of remarkable teaching. But they’re often perceived to be in competition. When you ask parents about their goals for their children, they almost always respond with terms like, “successful,” “happy,” “curious,” and “being kind to others.” But when you ask schools about their goals, they often reply in terms of academic content, like “algebra,” “subject-verb agreement,” and “the periodic table.”

Great teachers have always united those two visions.

This course explores the interconnection between character research, education, and academic rigor. During our sessions, we’ll cover the field of positive psychology as it relates to character strengths, as well as the concepts of Growth Mindset, Constructive Responding, and Character Behavior Language. We will engage with the existing research, hear from eminent scholars in the field and top K-12 educators, and view footage of classroom teachers integrating these ideas into their classroom instruction.

The course will explore questions like:

  1. How can positive psychology help us maximize student engagement and accomplishment?
  2. What does it look like to implement a growth mindset in your classroom?
  3. Can you teach grit in the classroom? If so, how?
  4. Should an educator measure character? If so, how?

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this course?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

What resources do I need for this class?
For this course, all you need is an Internet connection, an open mind, and the time to engage in the thought-provoking content. You're not required to be a teacher, social worker, counselor, care giver or coach, but if you are (or have aspirations to become), you will find the course even more rewarding and applicable.

What is one of the coolest things I'll learn if I take this class?
Positivity ratios of 4.3 to 1 enable optimal human functioning. Don't worry, we'll explain what that means and how it looks in a classroom.

Recommended Background

We believe this course will have broad applicability for anyone who works with kids – teachers, social workers, counselors, coaches, and even parents who are curious about how these ideas might be applied at home or in their child’s school.  We've built this course for you. The material will affect how you plan, how you teach, and what vision you have for your students' futures.