Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Service Learning Projects

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This paper sets forth the empirical and theoretical underpinnings and evidence-based activities that teachers of students with special needs in low-income schools can utilize to manage behavioral challenges. The authors identify applicable positive psychology resources, as requested by First Book, a non-profit providing member educators with resources that help children learn and seeks to accelerate implementation of innovative research in low-income schools. The authors, at the request of First Book, focus on emotional intelligence, growth mindset, self-regulation and character strengths, operationalizing these topics with a two-pronged approach: 1) specific actions teachers can take to build positive classrooms and 2) practical in-the-moment strategies teachers can apply when facing common classroom challenges. The authors include a detailed “Super Circle” intervention as an example of embedding positive psychology interventions into existing teaching practices. While the authors recognize the need for further research on the application of positive psychology tools to special needs populations, they remain hopeful that these recommendations will benefit teachers and students with special needs in low-income schools. Finally, the authors provide a measurement plan First Book could use to determine the effectiveness of the resources they create and provide to their members based on the research and recommendations contained herein.


emotional intelligence, character strengths, growth mindset, self-regulation, mindfulness, special needs, low-income, educators, teachers, title one schools, First Book



Date Posted: 16 May 2019