“Discovery of the positives and hope amid variableness and unknowns is essential…”
Our experiences in education throughout our lives should be a period for learning, exploration, and growth.
It’s not a newsflash that over the past year or more with the Covid-19 Pandemic, many students have experienced significant challenges with learning, that has coincided with their emotional health and well-being.
At Tutor Partners, we have strived to continue to provide positive learning environments conducive to optimal student growth.
As a community, we must provide a proactive approach and continue to build supportive learning environments for our students, which incorporate both logical and connected elements of well-being and happiness.
We aim to emphasize strengths that empower individuals to thrive and evolve. This is not a hippy-dippy, rose-colored kind of perspective. Ultimately, the goal of this approach towards a positive psychology strategy is to shift the balance so that one’s positive experiences outweigh one’s negative incidents.
We believe in focusing on strengths while addressing those weaknesses that are underneath, provides confidence that empowers individuals to thrive, irrespective of impacts around them. This doesn’t mean pretending situations don’t exist. No, it’s about turning those negatives to strengthen learning and that growth we speak of. Positive psychology is NOT about being happy all the time.
In the human condition, this is unrealistic. At the beginning of 2020, we all know, what came slamming into our faces. Hello, COVID-19.
Once our lives shifted exponentially, not only in unexpected ways, but also to an online format, it quickly became clear that students began experiencing a sense of anxiety, unsettledness, and loss.
As educators we knew, we had to ask ourselves, “How can we apply positive psychology to create a supportive, and connected community in the online classroom?”
In essence, nowadays there’s an even greater need to incorporate positive psychology within the learning experience to create a sense of community and a supportive atmosphere for students dealing with competing, multiple stressors, which aren’t easy to explain and therefore communicate.
The Positive Psychology Infusion
At Tutor Partners, we value those “check-ins” we have with students before starting each session. We will consistently take the time to talk about personal and professional issues/stressors in a trusting environment, which feels supported.
A mirror concept it may seem, however, savoring and embracing things, is an effective strategy to create fuller and longer-lasting positive emotions by thinking about past occurrences, current situations, or future events.
Such a model allows students to realize that one can savor both minor or significant experiences as well as not put a value judgment on the meaning of what each person relishes. Savoring of the future is a process of thinking about what experiences are anticipated, social connections can be made, and positive emotions may emerge.
By focusing on positive emotions we can draw upon life’s situations other related successful occurrences, thereby enhancing the perceived probability of doing well in the present circumstances. It’s difficult not to stress when we’re constantly thinking about things, which haven’t even occurred yet!
Also, this is fantastic for problem-solving and effective coping abilities. We need to discuss the ongoing things as a community to maintain continuity, and also uplift our thoughts and responses, due to a 24-7 news cycle focusing on the Coronavirus.
We’re here to live. Gratefulness is in the eye of the beholder. There’s always something positive to be found despite the upheaval. All of us need to find gratitude our way. From something small to a crucial experience that changes us, every piece is relevant and significant to our lives. Reflecting with gratitude for people, places, or situations will have long-lasting effects throughout our days.
Positive psychology strategies are embedded within our pedagogy at Tutor Partners. We are socially, emotionally invested in our students. We want them to feel engaged to continue to embrace the learning process despite uncertainty.
“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
~ William James (1842 – 1910)
We need to consider the “happy hours” we spend together, be it online or otherwise to redefine our resolve to work collectively as a team and remain positive even amid a pandemic.
Our success here within the experiences of learning with our students is what keeps motivating us at Tutor Partners to move forward.
In many respects, quality learning shifts and changes, therefore it needs to be flexible. These times will continue to bring some academic uncertainty. However, by infusing varied and positive learning formats, along with personal reflection, there will be benefits. We want to inspire our students to thrive well beyond the now.
Just be, live freely.