Threats to Positive Education and a simple Play-based Solution

The four key criticisms that threaten the implementation of Positive Education, as voiced frequently by teachers, are:

  • Positive Education appears as another subject which needs additional time and effort to learn and then teach in an already crowded curriculum
  •  Playworks® because teachers are able to see strategies to  immediately apply Positive Psychology to their already positive teaching work.
  • A traditional classroom approach is limited in its ability to engage all students in this behemoth called Positive Education
  •  Playworks® because of its universal accessibility and ease to engage with
  • Students can begin to struggle at ‘wellbeing’, when the lesson is presented as yet another subject they need to pass
  • Playworks® because participants learn as they do and process their experience which supports their classwork.
  • ‘Positive Education’ is an umbrella term that includes Mindset, Mindfulness, Character Strengths, Grit, Flow  , Appreciative Inquiry, Self Determination Theory, Gratitude, mind body awareness. That’s a huge amount to take in at one shot!
  • Playworks® trainings work because participants are not overloaded, we teach core concepts and Playworks Oz trained facilitators choose activities that best serve their clients requirements.

Play is universally engaging, it creates a safe learning environment for students to fail, it is highly flexible and delivers immediate feedback. Playworks® Oz helps their clients to keep concepts of Positive Psychology relevant and applicable.  Dr. Stuart Brown,  Author of ‘Play’,

It [play] is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play.

It is just one more reason Playworks®.

Contact us for more information regarding  ‘Serious Playworks®

Wellness But Don’t Quit Smoking, it’s unnatural!

There are better ways to cope. Don’t quit Smoking

More secondary students and their parents are looking for ways to quit, this topic often comes up at a Strengths presentation “How can knowing my strengths or Positive Psychology help me quit smoking?” so the advice is “Don’t quit. Choose not to have one next time you want one.”

Cigs Pic copy

For those who didn’t immediately pick up on that subtlety of syntax I shall explain. How often do we hear that we should not give up, we should hang in there, don’t quit?  I suggest we need to  look at the language that we need to use to help us achieve what we want.I have stopped smoking, I was a smoker for many years. I quit several times! I may still  be a smoker, deep down, but for all intent and purposes I have stopped smoking. I don’t enjoy it and I’ve developed better ways to cope.

Generally speaking we tend not to want to ‘Quit’ at anything. “”Quitting is for losers. Have you heard that before ? Imagine the protest  taken up in your synapses when you declare you are quitting:

You: “I’m quitting smoking”
Your Brain: “Ok…I have a lot of reference stuff here, memories of how quitting is not something you do or enjoy doing…um? I also have some very positive moments here when by not QUITTING you coped and managed to succeed…erm…shutting down to think on this, pass me a light would you?”

Make sense ? Consider this too, if I say “I’m quitting”  I have given up!” that’s a very bold statement. Very bold. Very finite.
The thing is, if I tell everyone this and then slip and have a cigarette then I have FAILED! Now the problem is compounded. I failed at quitting EEK!

Try this instead:  “I don’t want a cigarette, I choose not to smoke right now.” “I don’t want one today.” “Not right now thanks.”

Every time I refuse a cigarette or choose not to buy a packet or have a smoke free day…(whatever works for you), I have evidence of kicking a small achievable goal.  Each success makes me feel good, stronger and healthier. At the same time, If I do slip and have a cigarette, I don’t  feel like a total failure who has to start all over again. I acknowledge that this is a learning process,that I still don’t want another one, that this is one stumble on a tough road. I use this experience to help me make a stronger choice next time. It’s leverage but it isn’t guilt-ridden-abject misery related ‘FAILURE’

Learning to COPE without smoking is a smart goal.

So, small steps.  Accept slips as learning moments. Check the evidence for what caused your slip.  Owe it to yourself to go on from here and not have another today (or in the next hour.) Pick a wide variety of strategies that help you and Engage fully with one of the strategies and C.O.P.E

COPE deal effectively with something difficult: e.g the ability to cope with stress

The COPE model is a creation of Playworks® Oz

Staff Play

Using play in education is not a new concept .There are even enlightened educators and schools communities, those who really value the wellbeing of their students and their staff and recognise when their staff need a break- not a morning tea full of guilt making choices but a chance to re energise, realise old strengths, enjoy a laugh and shared challenge and play. And then there is a less informed outlook on play a lacking of knowledge or awareness and an unsophisticated view of play in education and the workplace that play is something that primary aged kids do.

It is only with the booming technology wizards, the App developers and the business savvy, that people have opened their eyes and seen play as a vehicle to engage and educate, teach and train all age groups, and to also increase profit, reduce sick days and boost wellbeing and sense of belonging to a community.

We are often involved with primary schools and secondary schools. They have won grants to work with us.  Our Play is Work.

Lets consider education very briefly- What do we gain by thinking that a healthy, playful and creative individual who is socially well adjusted, should stop playing and creating games in the school yard once they reach 12 years old? Once students leave primary school and begin secondary school the signals we give them are that physical play is now over, it is somehow confined to a childish state that they have left and now comes learning and sport. Why complain that our kids are less socially engaged? Why worry that our kids dive onto computers to play for hours at a time and stay awake all hours? Why worry that ‘enjoyment’ of the game is being lost and our students become more detached when they lose, when they have forgotten to apply the lessons they experienced instantly and learnt through play?

Our clients have had amazing successes with play at work in their teams. We have clients who prefer we did not use their company names because unless you have experienced a corporate play session, the conversations and social networking, the disclosure that pulls a team closer or the banter that dispels conflict and gives rise to new ideas- the chances are you would consider it a waste of time, money and effort, something just for kids. Really?

In Conclusion

The PlayworksOz team has worked with all demographics. We used to run high and low rope activities, ravine crossings etc. There is a place in team work for all of those expensive, cold and often macho experiences. We believe though( and there is significant research to back this) that “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” Victor Borge


Drugs & Play

Ok so the title is a little misleading, perhaps chemical induced play?

How often have you heard that something is good for you because of the ‘good chemicals’ released into  1) The body  2) The brain, 3) by the brain, man, like natural high?

Ringing bells? So here’s the skinny. …send an email to Stephen Heart  – with ‘Drugs n Play’ in the subject line and we’ll send you a short, quick-read, relevant breakdown of those great feel good chemicals accessible through play.


When we cope, we are actually dealing effectively with something-not just dealing with it, but dealing EFFECTIVELY with it.

Steve with Year 8 Class
All the C”s Collaboration, Communication, Coping, Creating, Caring

We originally put together this acronym to help students remember how to deal effectively with stresses and challenges at school. It may help you too.

C is for Check, “I can’t do this- when you check, becomes, this is difficult, what do I need to succeed? Have I done this before? Do I know someone who has? Check the evidence of the the belief.

O is for Owe yourself the opportunity for the best outcome. If I walk away I may never know if I could do it. (For example.)

P-is for Pick a Plan, Person or strategy that will help me do this thing.

E-is for the most important point. Engage with the Plan. It’s no use having great plans and strategies that you are unwilling to follow.

Next time you are in a tough situation, remember to COPE