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Csaba Hamvai és Bettina Pikó : Positive psychology aspects in the world of school: challenges of positive pedagogy

Positive psychological approach appeared after the World War II as a response for the prevailing, dominant medical and psychological model. This „illness” model in particular focused on dysfunctions, pathologies, illnesses and the solution of these problems. The positive approach conversely emphasizes the issues of social and individual well-being, self-realization and happiness and discovers positive human strengths (e.g. optimism, courage, justice) and virtues with which these goals can be achieved. In sociology, a similar positive change can be seen. Besides the society’s anomalies, sociologists try to explain the characteristics of a prospering community with identifying protective factors and positive human strengths which can provide the base of social well-being. Positive psychology approach spreads within school and education as well, so we can also speak about a kind of positive pedagogy. Several human strengths, protective factors and developmental assets have been identified, which may serve as an important base for happy school life and proper development. Moreover, these characteristics, and more exactly the mechanisms behind them, may act as protective factors and so targets of school interventions and preventive programmes. These mechanisms function as sources for achieving different goals and overcome challenges. Thus, they can be studied within the transactional coping model. This theory is presented in this article. Outcomes of recent studies about children’s and adolescents’ typical stressors, appraisal processes, coping strategies are also reported here. One of the most important conclusions is that adaptive coping strategies are often approaching techniques, while methods of avoidance may lead to different mental and somatic illnesses. That is why a school intervention should focus on the former type. Optimism as a human strength and a factor which is connected with (especially approaching) coping in several ways is also presented in the article. Most of the time, optimism together with coping and positive mood, may promote mental and physical health. Although during prolonged, uncontrollable situations optimism can even be harmful. Thus, shaping a proper degree of positive thinking, and optimism should also be the aim of a positive school intervention. Finally, some examples of positive school interventions will be presented. All of them target the development of positive competencies, characteristics and self-knowledge instead of dealing with problems and mistakes. As we will emphasize, the major aim of these interventions is not to have an adolescent without any problems but to provide guidelines for children and adolescents to face challenges easily

MAGYAR PEDAGÓGIA 108. Number 1. 71-92. (2008)

Levelezési cím / Address for correspondence: Hamvai Csaba és Pikó Bettina, SZTE ÁOK, Magatartástudományi Intézet, Szeged H–6722 Szeged, Szentháromság u. 5.


Magyar Tudományos Akadémia