Applying Positive Psychology to Foster Student Engagement and Classroom Community Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alan Chu, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Positive psychology is the study of well-being, which includes 5 essential elements— positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment (PERMA). Applying positive psychology teaching strategies can therefore foster student engagement and classroom community, especially in an online modality and during the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in which social connections are more important and yet harder to establish than ever. The aims of this teacher-ready theory review are to (a) briefly review the PERMA model and its research and application in education, (b) describe my implementation of three positive psychology teaching strategies—strengths identification and application, growth mindset, and gratitude exercises—during the pandemic, as well as their effects based on my observation and student feedback, and (c) offer practical considerations, including some caveats, for instructors to attend to when implementing these strategies in any courses at any time albeit particularly helpful in the face of adversity. Finally, I conclude this article with some tips of being a positive teacher and some of my reflections teaching during the pandemic in the hope of “flattening the emotional distress curve.”

Additional Information

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 8(2)
Language: English
Date: 2020
college teaching, gratitude, growth mindset, PERMA, strengths

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