Infusing Well-Being Into Public Education: A Case for Living It

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public education
positive psychology
positive education
positive mental health
school culture
capacity building
community of practice
Educational Administration and Supervision
Educational Leadership
Educational Psychology
Health and Physical Education
Industrial and Organizational Psychology
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Other Psychology
Secondary Education
Student Counseling and Personnel Services
Teacher Education and Professional Development
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Public education is our greatest asset for global thriving. The majority of youth in North America will be educated through publicly funded schools; positive psychology, positive education, and all models of whole-school well-being and resilience need to be accessible, adaptable, and affordable. This is particularly urgent given the rising rates of mental health concerns and illness worldwide. Geelong Grammar School in Australia identifies four interconnected processes for effective implementation of whole-school well-being: Learn It - Live It - Teach It - Embed It. Live It is described as “enacting evidence-based well-being practices in an individual’s unique way in their own lives” (Hoare et al., 2017, p. 60). Drawing on research in education and psychological and organizational well-being, I argue that this concept of living it is the essence of effective, sustainable cultures of well-being. By living the practices of well-being science, ourselves and within our schools, we learn, teach, and embed them in our families, communities, and institutions. Value for well-being needs to be intentional and prioritized. I propose three pillars to strengthen a culture of living it: authenticity, proactivity, and sustainability, each with supporting skills, behaviours, and mindsets from well-being science. This paper lays the groundwork to build grassroots momentum for well-being in public education, and to support research that operationalizes this essential aspect of school well-being. Living it can be a catalyst to drive social and educational change, and to create conditions for optimal learning and thriving.

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