Happiness matters: Towards a pedagogy of happiness and well-being

  • Scoffham S
  • Barnes J
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Abstract

The role of the emotions in learning has long been acknowledged but is often overlooked. This article considers the impact one particular emotion, happiness, has on learning and the school curriculum. Recent reports have drawn attention to the importance of happiness (or the lack of it) by highlighting concerns about childhood well-being. At the same time, there is increasing evidence from psychology and neuroscience to suggest that periods of happiness are linked to personal growth, health and development. When we are happy it seems we are more likely to be receptive to outside stimuli than when we are sad or distressed. Happiness also makes us more disposed to engage in creative endeavour, which is itself another source of fulfilment. Positive psychologists argue that rather than being fixed, happiness, optimism and other positive traits can be learnt. We offer evidence from our own professional experience in teaching to corroborate these claims and to extend the debate about the relevance of affective neuroscience to education. In conclusion, we consider how a focus on happiness might underpin a positive approach to curriculum reform. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

Author-supplied keywords

  • creativity
  • emotions
  • happiness
  • health
  • positive psychology
  • well-being

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Authors

  • Stephen Scoffham

  • Jonathan Barnes

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