Investigation of positive education implementation and its impact on students' wellbeing and academic self-efficacy in K-12 private schools in Dubai

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Positive Education is underpinned by positive psychology and infuses happiness lessons within the traditional taught curriculum. Wellbeing refers to life satisfaction and happiness. Academic self-efficacy discusses the level of an individual’s confidence and their perception of how they successfully accomplish their activities. Schools are progressively more concerned with the use of positive education for the holistic development of the whole child through an increased focus on ‘social emotional wellbeing’ (SEWB) and academic self-efficacy. The purpose of the current study is to investigate the implementation of positive education and the impact of positive education implementation on students’ SEWB and academic self-efficacy within Dubai’s K-12 private schools. Guided by theories and perspectives of world culture theory, institutional theory, Seligman’s PERMA model, Ryff’s six-factor model of psychological wellbeing, Diener’s tripartite model of subjective wellbeing, Brofenbrenner eco-biological theory, social constructionism theory, self determination theory and social-cognitive learning theory. A convergent parallel mixed method research design was used in the study. Document analysis of key policy documents and initiatives, lesson plans, strategic plans, KHDA reports, schools’ vision/mission and values statements, Dubai Student Wellbeing School Census (DSWC) reports and Pupil Attitudes to Self and School (PASS) reports, teachers’, parents’ and students’ questionnaires, and interviews and focus groups of school leaders, teachers, parents, and students were administered. The PASS results from 1006 students were used. The DSWC results from 702 and 1202 students were used. The questionnaire’s participants included 43 teachers, 277 parents, and 480 students. The interviews and focus groups participants included 12 school leaders, 17 teachers, 10 parents, and 15 students. The findings revealed the following: 1) in recent years there has been increasing positive education implementation grounding in the recent international, national, local, and educational authority policies and initiatives. 2) absence of standardised local and school policy related to positive education implementation has led to the need for adaptability of positive education implementation across school. 3) there has been strong engagement of the internal school community (teachers, school leaders and students) with external school community (parents). 4) significant changes in the overall level DSWC indicators associated with social emotional wellbeing, life satisfaction, perseverance, feeling safe, and belonging to school. 5) insignificant changes associated with DSWC indicators associated with emotional regulation, happiness, optimism, academic self-concept, cognitive engagement, engagement (flow), peer belonging and school climate. 6) PASS assessment factors show increase in wellbeing, motivation and self-efficacy for regulation and decrease in academic self-efficacy. 7) significant increase in emotional, social wellbeing and academic self-efficacy among students due to positive education implementation as perceived by teachers, parents, and students.
wellbeing census, positive education, positive psychology, student wellbeing, social wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, academic self-efficacy, subjective wellbeing, United Arab Emirates (UAE), private schools