Gareth Davey


This article is a reflective practice case study of my experiences teaching an innovative university-level course about happiness and wellbeing (positive education). I ponder questions such as: What is academic achievement? Can learning about happiness and wellbeing raise achievement? What does an education for the future look like? Drawing upon my own experiences of positive education, and upon a critique of the literature, I argue for a change of direction in the education system to focus on achievement and learning in terms of positive emotional and social development. This should include a shift from the obsession with standardised testing (grades, exam scores, and grade point average) to nurturing happiness and wellbeing in every aspect of students’ lives. However, harmonizing this vision within an education system besotted with end-point attainment and league table performance is problematic and faces numerous challenges.