Positive institutions: Case study
Positive psychology was founded on three main pillars: positive emotions, positive character traits associated with good living and positive institutions that create conditions for students to flourish (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). Nevertheless, the research in psychology so far has been concentrating on positive emotions and character strengths. Enabling institutions have been the least well studied of the three pillars. A salient additional perspective, as MacIntyre and Mercer (2014) propound, would be to concentrate on the context in which students can experience enjoyment and flourish in foreign language learning. I try to fill the niche by analyzing a language school in the further education context in Poland which seems to be a positive institution. I base my study around the two criteria: enabling success and promoting positive language learning environments or student well-being. The language school is analysed from three different angles: physical, pedagogical and psychological by means of an ethnographical research method and participant observation. The study is carried out in order to answer the research question: Can the school be labelled as a positive institution? The results demonstrate that the institution enables success as well as provides a positive learning environment and thus could be regarded as positive. The study is hoped to have contributed to positive psychology research by demonstrating what it means to be a positive institution in practice.
SLA; positive psychology; well-being; positive institutions; further education
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