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Positive Education 2018 – an Appreciative Inquiry Summit – PS 85

Exciting Global Gathering – Positive Education 2018

I'm excited in this episode to introduce Molly McGuigan, whose special talents and background enable her to be the project lead for a truly significant global undertaking on the topic of positive education 2018 that will extend way into the future.  The significant undertaking is the World Positive Education Accelerator  (WPEA) which is a four-day conference including a three-day Appreciative Inquiry Summit.  The event, taking place in Fort Worth, Texas June 25 – 28, 2018, is a massive collaboration of global players who've been actively bringing positive education into school systems all over the world.  There are many, success stories to be shared and many, many more to co-create.

Personal Stories

positive education 2018 Molly McGuiganTo start our conversation,  I invite Molly to share a little of her background and what the role means to her, and, with great interest, I wonder if there’s something in Molly’s personal history or upbringing, that points to the special excitement this project holds for her.  After all, Molly is a seasoned Appreciative Inquiry (AI) practitioner, having studied AI with Professor David Cooperrider and others in her MBA program at Case Western Reserve University.  She has extensive experience designing and facilitating organization development with corporations, small businesses, non-profits, and school districts.

Molly shares elements of her story, remembering fondly that as the youngest child of seven in her family, she was always included and encouraged to hang in with her big brothers.  “You can do this, Molly!” was instilled in her from a young age, and has stayed with her.  She found she had innate strengths that were noticed across a number of relationships including teachers.  Another story is how one of her teachers noticed she had a talent for playing the piano because she had an ear for it, rather than the ability to follow a music score!

Transcending Traditional Curriculum Design and Conference Design

We share thoughts about the importance of good role models and supportive people in our growth and development who positively impact our lives.  That impact at a young age informs the trajectory of our lives.  It can be positive or negative.  Hence, the excitement for an educational curriculum that includes a strong focus on strengths and well-being for all students alongside traditional academic subjects.

We could say the same applies to conference design.  The traditional conference with experts on stage sharing their wisdom to passive, seated audiences is no longer enough.  Attendees are saying, it's great to hear these inspiring stories from those on stage, and there are other ways to participate.  Through personal experiences, Molly, I and the collaborators of the WPEA are aware that conference attendees also have inspiring stories to share and dreams of better futures.  Our own voices matter.  Hence the theme of the WPEA is Turning Inspiration into Action.  People want to do it themselves.

With that awareness, the Accelerator is both a conference and an AI summit wrapped in one event.  It's likely to attract 1200 stakeholders from around the globe to elevate the strengths of Positive Education (see the PDF Infographic in LINKS below) and design initiatives focused on the educational transformation that will lead to students learning not only how to be productive but also how to lead flourishing and fulfilling lives.

This video is a compilation of the Positive Education 105 person Steering Committe, held at the David L Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry at Champlain College VT, rolling up their sleeves using the Appreciative Inquiry Methodology to plan for the Accelerator in Fort Worth Texas.

Aspirations for Positive Education 2018 and into the Future

Professors David Cooperrider, Case Western Reserve University, and Champlain College, thought-leader of Appreciative Inquiry and Martin Seligman, University of Pennsylvania, father of positive psychology share a passion to bring positive education into schools around the world.  They see this as one of the most important initiatives of our time and are invested in growing this opportunity, having already visited many places in the world to learn how to make this vision a reality. 

Listen in as Molly gives some background about the genesis of this initiative and what has been achieved already in Australia, Mexico, Dubai and elsewhere. See also the 2017 State of Positive Education PDF in the LINKS section below.

An area of focus in the lead up to the June Summit is the stakeholder mix in the room:  educators from all levels of education, from early education up through higher education, researchers who represent the best research, government representatives to consider policy changes in different parts of the world, and businesses and foundations that can share similar frameworks or ideas for education within their organizations.  Among these stakeholders, there's a focus and a dependence on networks of people for outreach to ensure connection with the right people and organizations.  Learn more about registration.

A vision is to have school groups, district groups, and other networked groups come to the summit and leave with their own initiatives and connections so they themselves can move from inspiration to action.

Hopes and dreams include keeping people connected post-summit; funding for a range of further initiatives; ongoing development for a positive education curriculum; and teacher and staff training; policy changes; expansive cross-sector relationships to name just a few possibilities.

With the generative, developmental nature of an Appreciative Inquiry Summit, the outcomes are in the hearts, minds, and hands of the participants and what they commit to take forward.

To find out more, please take at the WPEA website link below.


Stay Connected with Molly and Links to Positive Education

Molly on LinkedIn

Website of World Positive Education Accelerator

Register for the Summit, Fort Worth, June 25 – 28, 2018

Twitter: Positive Education (International Positive Education Network (IPEN)

Positive Education Infographic (PDF)

2017 State of Positive Education (PDF)


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