26 July, 2018 Community

Global summit unites top minds to accelerate Positive Education movement

The 2018 World Positive Education Accelerator (WPEA) held in Texas, brought together more than 1500 innovative minds across education, psychology and business to accelerate the Positive Education movement from June 25–28.

This year, WPEA exhibited an inaugural initiative—the integration of the International Positive Education Network’s second Festival of Positive Education with the David L. Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry methodology.

Amongst these innovators was Associate Head (Innovation & Learning), Mrs Annabelle Knight, who presented ‘Canvassing Strengths – Anything is Possible’, which explored how to facilitate the transformation from a Fixed Mindset to a Growth Mindset with regard to another person’s strengths, capability and personal qualities.

Global summit unites top minds to accelerate Positive Education movement Mrs Annabelle Knight presenting ‘Canvassing Strengths – Anything is Possible’.

The Strengths Canvass framework is designed to enable a person to reflect and canvass the strengths of another person, savour and analyse their personal qualities, talents and achievements. The Capstone of my Masters was based on mindset and how to shift people from a Fixed mindset into a Growth mindset where there are more possibilities for learning. My presentation was on the intervention I created to bring about this change.Mrs Knight

The framework was originally created for leaders but has now progressed into a much broader application with benefits for educators, students and parents. ‘The core of the concept is about recalling the strengths of what people have; do they have the strength of leadership, yes or no, and what makes you come to that conclusion,’ explains Mrs Knight.

‘The canvass is a way to view their strengths and what the evidence is. Slowly this thinking starts to reframe your mindset to think about what people can do rather than what they can’t do.

‘It’s a simple concept but it can be used by everyone. Ultimately, I want to bring things to the world that will make a difference.’

Global summit unites top minds to accelerate Positive Education movement

The three-day global summit provided opportunities for attendees to turn inspiration into action by participating in a global Appreciative Inquiry—a strengths-based and task-focused design and build process. ‘It’s about the collective versus the competitive and because we’re not necessarily a collective and collaborative world the process can prove to be a little challenging at times.

‘We have so much measurement to show that globally, wellbeing isn’t in the best place; so it was exciting to get together with people from all over the world who are trialling and implementing different approaches in the wellbeing space. There is a lot of hope, and to collaborate on next steps was an extraordinary experience,’ reflects Mrs Knight.

Educators and parents have recognised the need to better equip young adults with the life skills for success, particularly the teaching of wellbeing skills. ‘Wellbeing and academic learning are inextricably linked,’ says Mrs Knight. ‘We are all equally responsible for the wellbeing of self and others, and this collective responsibility has the capacity to transform lives and learning.’

Global summit unites top minds to accelerate Positive Education movement

WPEA saw a unique blend of cultures that celebrate wellbeing in their own way. ‘Every unique culture must be honoured and I learnt so much from my colleagues in other countries,’ reflects Mrs Knight. ‘We have a great deal to be grateful for in Australia—all the more reason for us to take the data we have on mental health and wellbeing and be the change.’St Michael’s Grammar School has optimised the Appreciative Inquiry framework since 2015, to continue building upon the strengths of the School and emerging best practices; all whilst enhancing our learning experiences for students and educators. We’re incredibly thrilled that Mrs Knight had the opportunity to present at this global gathering, and we look forward to how the School can integrate these new insights and learnings in the coming years.