Building “positive institutions”, including schools, is one of the three pillars of positive psychology as defined by Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi. Seligman et al., argued that schools could be a home for the science of well-being to “move individuals toward better citizenship, responsibility, nurturance, altruism, civility, moderation, tolerance, and work ethic.” This chapter summarizes developments in positive psychology, “the scientific study of what goes right in life”, and its exponential growth over the past 15 years. While advances have been made in understanding positive emotions and positive traits, investigation of the possibilities positive institutions, including schools, can play in the development of well-being remains an overlooked area of research. One of the challenges educators’ face is bringing well-being programs to scale at the institutional level. This has been underscored by a lack of an organizational or theoretical framework. This chapter outlines why schools should adopt well-being as an operational goal, and how they can become a positive institution. We outline the case to support this view from well-being and ill-being data, and what this is trying to achieve. We summarize the definitions in the literature to provide a sequential framework for institutions to consider focusing on: what is positive psychology? What is well-being? What is positive education? What is a positive institution? Finally, we offer a framework based on eight measurable goals to guide schools in a process to become a positive institution. These are aligned against Seligman’s PERMA theory: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment model of well-being. We are argue that by focusing on building leadership capability in positive psychology; defining and measuring well-being; enhancing resilience; developing a well-being strategy; building staff capability; implementing scientifically informed well-being programs; and evaluating and developing models for positive change.
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M. A. White, A. S. Murray (eds.), Evidence-based approaches in Positive education: Implementing a Strategic Framework for Well-being in Schools.
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White, M., Murray, A. (2015). Building a Positive Institution. In: White, M., Murray, A. (eds) Evidence-Based Approaches in Positive Education. Positive Education. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9667-5_1
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