International Positive Education Network (IPEN) Festival

What I learned in three days

Posted Jul 21, 2016

There were more than 800 people from over 30 countries expanding the horizons of education. They gathered together at the first ever Festival of Positive Education because emotional well-being is a pre-requisite for all life satisfaction and accomplishment.

They gathered together on the “verge of a moral sea of change to build well-being” - Dr. Martin Seligman. Here is what I learned:

1. Positive psychology in education is expressed through emotional energy that is explicitly connected to learning through humor, laughter, daydreams, movement, dance, song, drama, art, literature, film, music, questions, storytelling, affirmations, visualization, meditation, mediation, and a rich kaleidoscope of bottomless learning.

2. Positive psychology is happy classrooms, happy schools, and most importantly, happy teachers who are free to be themselves and so free their students: this is the happiness advantage.

3. Positive psychology transcends culture, country, and language…transcends old habits and obsolete mindsets…and transcends adversities.

4. Positive psychology is a biologically driven means of psychologically flourishing intrapersonally and interpersonally. Well-being comes from the inside out and from the bottom-up.

5. Positive psychology is teaching students that not only is tomorrow another day (optimism) but that they can create a new and better day tomorrow (grit). Grit is passion to keep going…doing…living. Without grit there is no talent and grit  is cultivated with deliberate practice.

6. Positive failure matters and means failing up. Don’t just throw students into the deep end of the pool. Wade in with them. Help them learn to use frustration as water wings.

7. Self-efficacy powered by intrinsic motivation creates an open-minded approach that is more resilient and more likely to motivate success-seeking students.

8. Interactive film—cloud sourced film—begin where the spoken word fails.

9. Character is best defined as practical wisdom: the ‘will’ and the ‘skill’ to be a good person and to do good work no matter the circumstance.

10. If you are mindful and open-minded, you are grateful, empathetic, and imaginative.

11. Recognize emotional strength, value strength, and share strength incessantly.

12. Nothing is personal, pervasive, or permanent. Be curious. Be hopeful.

13. The habits of the mind are harder to change than the habits of the muscle. Start dancing.

14. Happiness is found in solitude. Happiness is found in connection. Joy is found in sharing what we learn in solitude creating conjoint discovery. Happiness is the 'ying' and the 'yang'. Happiness is the balance of self and other.

15. Positivity and negativity are both equally contagious and indelible.

16. Appreciative inquiry frames the new model of integrity.

17. Positive education is an organic philosophy of positive being and teaching that shapes and adapts strengths curriculum, inspires captivating lessons, encourages innovative activity, and includes playful games embedded with meaningful exchanges.

18. Sir Anthony Seldon is the person we all want to be when we grow up…as we grow young.

19. There were 100 blessings in every moment at the Festival. 

20.  Flip your lid, settle your glitter, stand on your head, use your red cape and your green cape, use your soaring words, and be an orange frog! (Figure It Out).

In my own presentations, I shared that language translates positive psychology in the classroom and that starting a conversation in your school about positive psychology guides implementation.

What did you learn at IPEN? What have you learned as a positive psychology educator any day...every day?

International Positive Psychology Network (IPEN) Leadershp (Sign the Manifesto)

Sir Anthony Seldon, IPEN President 
Lord James O’Shaugnessy, IPEN Chairman
Dr. Martin Seligman, IPEN Founder 
Emily Larson, Executive IPEN Executive Director 

IPEN Featured Speakers

Angela Duckworth 

Martin Seligman 

David Cooperrider 

Shawn Achor 

Michelle Gielan 

Tiffany Shlain 

Barry Kerzin 

Rock T 

Adam Shell 

IPEN Sponsors 

Live Happy (Deborah Heisz, Jeff Olsen) MindUP Character.Org Bridges Academy TES Crown House Publishing St. Peters College Let it Ripple Success Magazine

IPEN Key Note Speakers - More to Come on their Awesome Work

IPEN Panels, Workshops, Provocations - More to Come on their Amazing Ideas


Read My BookPositive Psychology in the Elementary School Classroom (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013) 

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