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Character Strengths and Mindfulness: Pathways to Increase Well-Being


Character Strengths and Mindfulness: Pathways to Increase Well-Being The Impact of a Character Strengths-Based Intervention on the Life Satisfaction and Well-Being of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Character Strengths and Mindfulness: Pathways to Increase Well-Being

Character Strengths and Mindfulness Pathways to
Increase Well-Being
The Impact of a Character Strengths-Based
Intervention on the Life Satisfaction and
Well-Being of Adolescents
Carmel Proctor July 2, 2014
Strengths Gym?
  • Character strengths-based intervention program
    for students aged 11-14
  • Course includes 24 character strengths lessons
  • One for each of the VIA strengths
  • Flexible curriculum integrating various positive
    psychology techniques
  • Strengths exercises
  • In-class activities
  • Philosophical discussion
  • Stories
  • Real-world homework activities
  • Focuses on behavior we do want, rather than
    behavior we dont want

Descriptive rather than prescriptive students
engage and discover their unique strengths
(Linkins et al., 2014)
Principles Behind Strengths Gym
  • Strengths-spotting is a skill that can be learned
  • Students become more aware of strengths in
    themselves, in other people, and in the world
    around them its ok to be different
  • Strengths can be improved
  • The more we practice and use a strength the more
    we have of it
  • We get more of what we focus on
  • Paying attention to a subject primes us to notice
    it thinking about kindness makes us more likely
    to do kind things
  • Intrinsic motivation is more effective than
    extrinsic motivation
  • Autonomy, or choice encourages intrinsic
  • Strengths can be found across the curriculum

Strengths Gym
  • Three stage learning process
  • General understanding of strengths and
    development of strengths vocabulary
  • Identification and own use of strengths
  • Recognition and identification of use of
    strengths by others
  • All exercises can be completed solitarily or in
  • Materials
  • Teacher handbook with student booklets
  • Teacher handbook with student worksheets
  • In keeping with the five basic strands that
    encompass the scope and priorities of
    strengths-based education
  • Developing a character strengths language and
  • Recognizing and thinking about strengths in
  • Recognizing and thinking about ones own
  • Practicing and applying strengths
  • Identifying, celebrating, and cultivating group
  • (Linkins et al., 2014)

Strengths Gym - Students
  • Students self-identify with their top five
    strengths at the beginning and end of each level
  • Re-evaluate strengths before moving on
  • Strengths Builder themes
  • Level 1 Design a Superhero
  • Level 2 Strength in Action Story
  • Level 3 Create Your Own Strength in Action
  • Additional item to further develop use of the
  • Strengths Challenge
  • Real-world homework

Strengths Gym - Teachers
  • Menu format lesson plans
  • Choose activities that suit needs
  • Variety of activities
  • Strengths sessions
  • Introduction to strength
  • Key features
  • Definition
  • Benefits
  • Famous quotes
  • Thinking questions
  • Closing activities
  • Display suggestions
  • Strengths story
  • Opportunities to build across the curriculum
  • Positive education

Strengths Gym - Research
  • The intervention program
  • 319 Year 8 and 9 students
  • 6-month period to use materials
  • Average 23.25 completed lessons
  • HLM model
  • Baseline scores, sex, age covariate at student
  • School and year covariates at classroom level
  • Preliminary research findings
  • Participants had significantly higher levels of
    life satisfaction
  • Marginally significant effect on positive affect
  • No effect on negative affect or self-esteem
  • Results suggest the intervention increased life

(Proctor et al., 2011)
  • Life satisfaction is one of the most
    well-established indicators of happiness,
    well-being, and positive functioning
  • Positive evaluations of life satisfaction linked
    with positive functioning negative evaluations
    of life satisfaction linked with negative
  • Many young people are unhappy
  • As many as 7 indicating a 'terrible' or
    'unhappy' existence
  • Life satisfaction acts as a buffer against the
    negative effects of stress
  • Character strengths interventions have a positive
    influence on well-being and academic performance

  • What do the key components of positive
    psychology look like within a school?
  • Implementation across the curriculum
  • Extended throughout the whole school year
  • How can the teaching environment be used to
    capitalize on positive psychology principles?
  • Successful application means adding to existing
  • How do schools maintain and plan for sustained
  • Funding and resources an ongoing issue
  • Strengths-based interventions are implemented by
    teachers positive education training needs to
    be delivered to teachers!
  • Not teaching how to teach, but to implement
    positive psychology techniques
  • Interventions need to be built into culture

(Proctor, 2014)
Thank you!
  • Huebner, E. S., Drane, J. W., Valois, R. F.
    (2000). Levels and demographic correlates of
    adolescent life satisfaction reports. School
    Psychology International, 21(3), 281-292.
  • Linkins, M. Niemiec, R. M., Gillham, J.,
    Mayerson, D. (2014). Through the lens of
    strength A framework for educating the heart.
    Journal of Positive Psychology.
  • Proctor, C. (2014). Enhancing well-being in
    youth Positive psychology interventions for
    education in Britain. In M. Furlong, R. Gilman,
    E. S. Huebner (Eds.), Handbook of positive
    psychology in schools (2nd edition) (pp.
    416-432). London Routledge.
  • Proctor, C., Fox Eades, J. (2009a). Strengths
    Gym Teacher's Manual. St. Peter Port, Guernsey
  • Proctor, C., Fox Eades, J. (2009b). Strengths
    Gym Level 1. St. Peter Port, Guernsey PPRC.
  • Proctor, C., Fox Eades, J. (2009c). Strengths
    Gym Level 2 St. Peter Port, Guernsey PPRC.
  • Proctor, C., Fox Eades, J. (2009d). Strengths
    Gym Level 3. St. Peter Port, Guernsey PPRC.
  • Proctor, C., Fox Eades, J. (2011). Strengths
    Gym Build and exercise your strengths! St Peter
    Port, Guernsey PPRC.
  • Proctor, C. L., Linley, P. A., Maltby, J.
    (2009). Youth life satisfaction A review of the
    literature. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10(5),
  • Proctor, C., Tsukayama, E., Wood, A. M., Maltby,
    J., Fox Eades, J. M., Linley, P. A. (2011).
    Strengths Gym The impact of a character
    strengths-based intervention on the life
    satisfaction and well-being of adolescents.
    Journal of Positive Psychology, 6(5), 377-388.
  • Quinlan, D., Swain, N., Cameron, C.,
    Vella-Brodrick, D. (2014). How other people
    matter in a classroom-based strengths
    intervention Exploring interpersonal strategies
    and classroom outcomes. Journal of Positive
  • Suldo, S. M., Huebner, E. S. (2004). Does life
    satisfaction moderate the effects of stressful
    events on psychopathological behavior during
    adolescence? School Psychology Quarterly, 19(2),
  • Suldo, S. M., Riley, K. N., Shaffer, E. J.
    (2006). Academic correlates of children and
    adolescents life satisfaction. School Psychology
    International, 27, 567-582.
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