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  • Open Access
  • © 2021

The Palgrave Handbook of Positive Education

Palgrave Macmillan
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

  • Provides a landmark introduction to the growing field of positive education

  • Includes a range of theoretical, applied, and practice-focused chapters attractive to academics and practitioners

  • Considers the implications of positive psychology research for public policy, curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training

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Table of contents (30 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxviii
  2. Introduction and Overview

    • Margaret L. Kern, Michael L. Wehmeyer
    Pages 1-17Open Access
  3. Perspectives on and Approaches to Positive Education

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 19-19
    2. Approaches to Positive Education

      • Suzy Green, Clive Leach, Daniela Falecki
      Pages 21-48Open Access
    3. Positive Education in Practice

      • Ricardo Arguís-Rey
      Pages 49-74Open Access
    4. Positive Youth Development in Education

      • Daniel Romer, David Hansen
      Pages 75-108Open Access
    5. Systems Informed Positive Education

      • Margaret L. Kern, Jessica A. Taylor
      Pages 109-135Open Access
    6. Trauma-Aware Practice and Positive Education

      • Tom Brunzell
      Pages 205-223Open Access
    7. Self-Determination in Positive Education

      • Michael L. Wehmeyer, Sung Hyeon Cheon, Youngsun Lee, Matthew Silver
      Pages 225-249Open Access
    8. Life Design for an Inclusive and Sustainable Future

      • Ilaria Di Maggio, Maria Cristina Ginevra, Sara Santilli, Laura Nota, Salvatore Soresi
      Pages 251-270Open Access
  4. Core Capabilities in Positive Education

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 271-271
    2. Wellbeing and Flourishing

      • Covadonga Chaves
      Pages 273-295Open Access
    3. Assessing Wellbeing in School Communities

      • Aaron Jarden, Rebecca Jarden, Tan-Chyuan Chin, Margaret L. Kern
      Pages 297-324Open Access
    4. Wellbeing Literacy and Positive Education

      • Lindsay G. Oades, Lisa M. Baker, Jacqueline J. Francis, Jessica A. Taylor
      Pages 325-343Open Access
    5. Developing Coping Skills in the Early Years: A Positive Educational Approach

      • Erica Frydenberg, Jan Deans, Rachel Liang
      Pages 369-393Open Access
    6. Character Strengths Interventions in Education Systems

      • Jillian Coppley, Ryan M. Niemiec
      Pages 395-420Open Access
    7. Building Positive Emotions and Playfulness

      • Louise Tidmand
      Pages 421-440Open Access

About this book

This open access handbook provides a comprehensive overview of the growing field of positive education, featuring a broad range of theoretical, applied, and practice-focused chapters from leading international experts. It demonstrates how positive education offers an approach to understanding learning that blends academic study with life skills such as self-awareness, emotion regulation, healthy mindsets, mindfulness, and positive habits, grounded in the science of wellbeing, to promote character development, optimal functioning, engagement in learning, and resilience.

The handbook offers an in-depth understanding and critical consideration of the relevance of positive psychology to education, which encompasses its theoretical foundations, the empirical findings, and the existing educational applications and interventions. The contributors situate wellbeing science within the broader framework of education, considering its implications for teacher training, education and developmental psychology, school administration, policy making, pedagogy and curriculum studies.

This landmark collection will appeal to researchers and practitioners working in positive psychology, educational and school psychology, developmental psychology, education, counselling, social work and public policy.


  • Open Access
  • Positive Education
  • Resilience
  • Social and Emotional Learning
  • Mindfulness in education
  • Positive Emotions
  • Playfulness
  • Emotional Development
  • Character Strengths Interventions
  • Trauma-informed Approaches
  • Positive Youth Development
  • Systems Informed Positive psychology
  • Strength-based Reflective Practice
  • Flourishing
  • Creative Learning
  • Positive Spirituality
  • Whole Child Approach to Education
  • Teacher and Staff Wellbeing
  • Positive Organizational Scholarship
  • Social Work and Community Development


“This impressive volume serves as an invaluable resource and a beacon to anyone interested in the type of education that allows individuals and communities to flourish. Congratulations to the editors for facilitating open access, ensuring that the richness and importance of diverse perspectives and practical guidance from scholars and educators around the world, is freely available to all.”

— Felicia Huppert, Founding Director of the Well-being Institute and Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK


“More than a decade after the term “positive education” was coined, the Palgrave Handbook on Positive Education, brings together science, practice, and strategic vision to help implement evidence-based positive education programs across the globe. The approaches outlined in this volume will help expand the narrow focus on academic success to include psychological well-being for students and educators alike. It is a must-read for anyone interested in how positive outcomes such as life satisfaction, positive emotion, and meaning and purpose can be optimized in the educational settings.”

— Judith Moskowitz, PhD MPH, Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, USA, IPPA President 2019-2021


“Congratulations to all contributors to this valuable resource. The field of Positive Education continues to develop and grow, and so too does scholarship on the subject. The breadth of analysis provided by this book, and its examination of ‘third wave’ Positive Education, will significantly advance our understanding of this evolving field, as well as its practice and pedagogy.”

— Marita Hayes-Brown, CEO, Positive Education Schools Association (PESA), Australia

Editors and Affiliations

  • Centre for Wellbeing Science , University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

    Margaret L. Kern

  • Department of Special Education, University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA

    Michael L. Wehmeyer

About the editors

Margaret (Peggy) L. Kern is Associate Professor at the Centre for Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, Australia. Dr Kern is Founding Chair of the Education Division of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). You can find out more about Dr Kern’s work at

 Michael L. Wehmeyer is Ross and Mariana Beach Distinguished Professor of Special Education; Chair of the Department of Special Education; and Director and Senior Scientist, Beach Center on Disability, at the University of Kansas, United States. Dr Wehmeyer is Publications Lead for theEducation Division of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). He has published more than 450 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and is an author or editor on 42 texts. 

Bibliographic Information

Buy it now

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Other ways to access