South African Journal of Education

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Integrating positive psychology principles and exercises into a second-language high school curriculum

Marianne Gush, Abraham P. Greeff


This study reports on the development of a textbook for a school subject (Grade 8 Afrikaans second language – an official South African language). A framework for the textbook was developed by drawing from Maslow’s self-actualisation and Hettler’s wellness approaches, and merging these with Seligman’s PERMA and the psychosocial system approach, as well as the 24 character strengths identified by Peterson and Seligman. Positive Psychology interventions were then included systematically to match the existing framework. Positive Psychology therefore provides the framework and context for language learning, which takes place and is possibly even enhanced through the themes and context. Using existing school subjects as a means to provide wellbeing-enhancing activities to learners in a natural, but structured, framework is realistic, as it makes use of existing school infrastructure and staff, while producing what could be a powerful tool to facilitate growth and wellbeing.

Keywords: hidden curriculum; language instruction; positive education; positive psychology interventions; textbook development

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