Friday, January 9, 2009

Strengthening Our Students’ Humanity

DOWNLOAD LESSON PLAN :: Positive Psychology

According to Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania considered the father of positive psychology, unlike traditional psychology that focuses on deficits, disease, and dysfunction, positive psychology highlights human strengths and potential, and celebrates what is best in life. By building strengths, instead of dwelling on weaknesses, teachers can immediately affect students’ lives. Enrollment in this discipline has sky-rocketed at the university level over the past few years—it is the most popular class at Harvard University—and its influence has trickled down to the secondary level.

Positive Psychology: A 7-Day Unit for High School Psychology is a comprehensive curriculum that introduces the concepts of positive psychology. Critical thinking exercises, transparencies, and activities are thoughtful and spot on so that teachers and students will want to do them. These include daily mood forms, measuring optimism, and imagining the future with a hope scale.

Amy Fineburg, who established the psychology program at Spain Park High School in Alabama, is also the past chair and member-at-large of Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS), the high school teacher affiliate program of the American Psychological Association (APA). She is a veteran presenter and the author of several publications, including Thinking About Psychology, a high school psychology textbook written entirely by high school psychology teachers. Through networking and attending conferences, she acknowledges she becomes a better teacher. And, Amy admits to “stealing” activities from others, giving her students an experience they wouldn’t have had if she had stayed home.

Find more resources from TOPSS here.

Ms. Fineburg graciously granted permission to post her curriculum on our site.

Link source