6-7 April 2018


Friday 6 April | 4:00pm
BUILDING COLLECTIVE WELLBEING: INTEGRATING SCHOOL CULTURE, STRATEGY, AND CURRICULUM

Saturday 7 April | 9:30am
PROMOTING CHARACTER STRENGTHS THROUGH READING AND WRITING

 

Associate Professor Mathew A White

Associate Professor Mathew A. White PhD FACE
School of Education | Faculty of Arts | The University of Adelaide 
             
Associate Professor Mathew A. White Ph.D. is a researcher and lecturer in the School of Education at The University of Adelaide. He is also a Principal Fellow and Associate Professor in Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne and an Affiliate of the Wellbeing Institute at Cambridge University. He was conferred his Ph.D. from The University of Adelaide in 2004.    

Mathew's interests include character education, leadership, wellbeing, and strategy. He has published three books on these issues: Evidence-based approaches to Positive Education: Implementing a Strategic Framework For Well-being in Schools, Future Directions in Wellbeing: Education, Organizations, and Policy published by Springer and Theology Encountering Positive Psychology published by Wipf and Stock. 

Mathew has presented keynotes and workshops at international conferences in Asia, Australia, Canada, England, United States of America, New Zealand and Russia. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Applied Positive Psychology and presented internationally on character education, leadership, governance, and wellbeing. Among his publications is the most read article in the Journal of Positive Psychology, the field's most influential journal.

Before his appointment to The University of Adelaide, Mathew was the founding Director of Wellbeing & Positive Education at St Peter's College – Adelaide where he served on the school's Senior Leadership Team (2011 - 2017). He was the founding Director of Leadership at the social enterprise Teach For Australia and first Head of Positive Education at Geelong Grammar School where he taught for over a decade. Mathew has over 20 years senior secondary school experience teaching Literature and French in the International Baccalaureate Diploma, South Australian and Victorian Certificates of Education.

In 2016, Mathew was elected a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators. In 2017 the most significant professional association in Australia's education sector, the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL), conferred two awards on Mathew; the ACEL National Leadership Award and the ACEL South Australian Leadership Medal.  Mathew is an Australian representative for the International Positive Education Network (IPEN), is the Chair (Term ends February '18) and was Secretary ('16) of the South Australian Chapter of the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA-SA).

Mathew's recent publications include: 

  • White, M. & Kern. M. L. (2017). Wellbeing: if you treasure it you will measure it. Independence Journal of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia, Vol 42, No 2, pp. 50-54. 
  • White, M. (2017). Welfare to Wellbeing: Australian education's greatest challenge. Australian Educational Leader, 31(1), 18-22. 
  • White, M., Slemp, G., & Murray, A. S. (2017). Future Directions in Wellbeing: Education, Organizational and Policy. Springer Press. Springer Press, Netherlands. Foreword written by David Cooperrider PhD. 

  • White, M. (2016). Why won't it Stick? Positive Psychology and Positive Education. Psychology of Well-Being: Theory, Research & Practice, 6(1), 1. doi:10.1186/s13612-016-0039-1


Friday 6 April | 4:00pm

BUILDING COLLECTIVE WELLBEING: INTEGRATING SCHOOL CULTURE, STRATEGY, AND CURRICULUM

Internationally school belonging is emerging as an undervalued but increasingly important topic in education. Following Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi's call for the applications of positive psychology over the past 17 years efforts within education have focused on building wellbeing, contentment, and satisfaction (in the past); hope and optimism (for the future); and flow and happiness (in the present) with a goal to build positive institutions. Positive institutions are organisations (schools, colleges, systems of education, universities) which intentionally aim to improve quality of life and move individuals toward better citizenship. As Cooperrider and Godwin (2014) emphasise, these are organisations that "serve to elevate our highest human strengths, combine and magnify those across the strengths spectrum, and refract our highest strengths outward in the world benefiting ways." Build how to build collective wellbeing? This keynote explores the parts of school culture and strategy, why and how all schools can intentionally strengthen a culture of wellbeing before rushing towards curriculum integration.

 

Saturday 7 April | 9:30am

PROMOTING CHARACTER STRENGTHS THROUGH READING AND WRITING 

When asked to describe the impact of Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman's focus on human strengths Howard Gardner said it is "one of the most important initiatives in psychology of the past half century". When we read, we are naturally concerned about character. However, many students lack the vocabulary to explore the nuances of personality. Can teachers integrate more discussion about character? One method is the application of Peterson and Seligman's (2004) classification of character strengths. Character strengths are defined by Brdar and Kashdan (2010) as "pre-existing qualities that arise naturally, feel authentic (and) are intrinsically motivating to use." (p.  151).  This hands-on workshop will explore the application of Peterson and Seligman's character strengths in literature. Examples from the early years to the senior years will be explored.


 

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