Applying Positive Psychology in Learning Environments

Matthew Borg and his colleagues were able to incorporate Mieko Kamiya's ikigai needs into their workplace culture. They related Kamiya's needs to Seligman's PERMA Theory, and used them as tools that have helped them understand themselves better, enabling them to perform at an optimum level for their students.

Creating a space for learning and improvement

Nick: Do you want to go into how you integrated ikigai. Specifically, you mentioned to me before we started talking how you integrated Mieko Kamiya's ikigai-9 needs and how you've tied that to positive psychology, I think specifically the PERMA model.

Andrew: That's right, we've managed to look at the two areas in where Seligman’s PERMA model, but also the seven ikigai needs and how they actually relate to each other and interrelate to each other as well.

And we found some really great through lines of experience for teaching staff to link to. And the beautiful flow down waterfall effect is, and what we find in all the learning that we do around self-efficacy and self-actualization, to be able to understand ourselves better, it allows us to perform at an optimum level for the students that we serve every day, and being able to incorporate that within a school learning environment, which is so human centric, it is it is a human ecosystem—schools are.

Anywhere where humans collectively congregate for any periods of time, obviously, is a human ecosystem. But we need to get back to that idea of being able to nurture our ecosystem and cultivate the ground on which people walk on with such rich nutrient and research depth ideals, where society can actually move in a really positive direction forward, whisk children really wants to come to the school because they feel that ibasho in the school—they know that the school is a place of safety, sanctuary, and curiosity, where they can actually be themselves and their own strength and character strengths will be recognized and also celebrated in the groupings and the work that we all do together.

Now, every single human in that environment is feeling that way. It is a space of positive reflection, being able to link learning to improvement, and be able to understand that the privilege just doesn't, and the learning doesn't start inside that school environment.

You can just have as much nurture and rich learning experiences outside of that environment, and actually bring them back to share with others to amplify learning for all. So for us, ikigai, and Seligman’s PERMA model, principles of positive psychology in the Western world has actually all come together to produce an environment in which everyone has sort of major skin in the game.

Where every brick that has been laid in the foundation actually has the DNA of every single educated student and parents who are part of that environment. And we're not perfect, we're always working on being better than we were yesterday. And that's the beauty of being a fallible human.

A lot of the time I self reflected, I could have done better, I should have done better, and I have to let myself off the hook a lot of the time by saying, look, I'm human, I’m fallible, this happens, let's move forward instead of just reflecting and becoming sort of really despondent about what's happened in the past or the what may be served up to me from the department perspective, to be able to utilize and maneuver that to create something that serves our vision each and every day for our students.