For most of the past decade, Marc Helgesen taught a “Positive Psychology in ELT” course in the MA TESOL program at the Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. After the course, students are encouraged to use and develop activities in their own classes. What follows are a few examples of things they have done.
Just over 15 years ago, I first heard about Positive Psychology. It was the topic of a cover story in TIME Magazine. They called it, “The Science of Happiness.” In the issue, there was a short article by University of California-Riverside psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky. It was called, “Eight Steps Toward a More Satisfying Life.” Those steps are shown in the pictures above.
Engagement is the E in Martin Seligman’s PERMA model of human flourishing. And Seligman is explicit about what engagement is. It is Flow. Flow has been the focus of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s research for around 60 years now in various contexts. Csíkszentmihályi presents Flow as those moments of total engagement and “effortless action” we experience when “what we feel, what we wish, and what we think are in harmony” (1997, p. 28). When we are in a Flow state, our attention is focused and we feel in control of our actions. Self-consciousness, as well as sense of time, disappear.
As I write, the world is still in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis. Particularly in education, students and teachers have had to adjust to new working conditions, both displaying an incredible commitment to ensuring the best education possible in the circumstances. As with all critical periods and experiences, the crisis has caused many individuals to take stock and reflect on what matters most, what is important to prioritise, and what lessons they want to learn when moving into the “new normal” post-pandemic.