Positive Psychology, Section A Fall 2012 Mondays Location: N7-C25

Positive Psychology, Section A Fall 2012 Mondays Location: N7-C25 Course Information and Purpose 1) Instructor Information: Instructor: Mads Bab Mads Bab is self-employed coach, consultant
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Positive Psychology, Section A Fall 2012 Mondays Location: N7-C25 Course Information and Purpose 1) Instructor Information: Instructor: Mads Bab Mads Bab is self-employed coach, consultant and concept developer in the combined field of Positive Psychology, corporate strategy and design thinking. Mads holds a BA in Political Science from Aarhus University and a MSc in Applied Positive Psychology from University of East London. Mads is a trained facilitator of a wide range of Positive Psychology areas and works daily with clients, primarily though executive coaching and corporate workshops. Combining Positive Psychology and design thinking Mads always seeks an innovative approach in the development of flourishing individuals and organizations. In 2009 Mads, among other things, launched the concept of Play Your Strengths. The concept is an innovative tool that combines strengths research and LEGO. Through this participants build models of their character strengths in LEGO and share stories of these in a more fun and interactive way. The scientific culmination of this has been workshop presentations at the 5 th European Conference on Positive Psychology and the recent 2 nd World Congress on Positive Psychology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Guest lecturer: Ebbe Lavendt, Danish Center for Positive Psychology Psychology Program Director: Carla Caetano Associate Psychology Program Director: Tilde Højer Mathiasen DIS Contact: Psychology Program Coordinator Anna D.E.S. Køster Office: Vestergade Positive Psychology Semester Year DIS 3 credits Course Number 2) Course Description: Discover the relevant research findings, theoretical concepts and thinking on the topics of human flourishing and well-being. Psychology provides much knowledge on pathologies and disorders, but what do we know about optimizing human functioning, flourishing and well-being? This essential question serves as a springboard for our examination of the emergence and development of Positive Psychology. Whether Positive Psychology is a field of its own or more a complimentary focus researchers and practitioners from psychology and coaching seek to understand, test, discover and promote factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive. This research and practice is important because of its additional focus on concepts such as wellbeing, happiness, flow, personal strengths, optimism, resilience as well as characteristics of positive groups, organizations and nations areas that traditionally have not been examined and researched much by psychology. Positive Psychology has through the last ten years evolved rapidly and today seeks to demonstrate that it is more than just positive thinking and feeling good. It is concerned with the elements that result in flourishing, rather than languishing. The field is intended to complement, not to replace traditional psychology. It does not seek to deny the importance of studying how things go wrong, but rather to emphasize the importance of using the scientific method to determine how things go right. Starting of the semester the course will deep dive into the foundations of Positive Psychology and seek to understand its relation to other fields of psychology and other psychological applications like coaching. From this understanding we will curiously and critically examine the most fundamental elements of Positive Psychology. These are positive emotions, character strengths, self-determination and goal setting, mindfulness and psychological capital. Through lively debates, research analysis, and application workshops students will get a broad overview of the field and it s most important theories, application and up to date scientific research. Hopefully students will come to understand that Positive Psychology, however young the field may be, not only builds on years of philosophy but also modern scientific methods and in some areas quite extensive peer reviewed research. In the light of this understanding student will also critically analyze potential problems underlying the different concepts within Positive Psychology. In order to bring Positive Psychology into the context of their stay in Denmark, students will examine why Danes continuously are ranked number 1 in international surveys on happiness and life-satisfaction. Students will undoubtedly come across the Danish term Jante lov and hear much about the far reaches of the Danish welfare state. Are these cultural and societal institutions the main reasons for Danes high wellbeing or could it be that other issues such as closeness or a relaxed approach to work and career also play an important role? This course emphasizes a strong focus on theory, research and application and expects a high degree of participation and critical yet constructive reflection from students. Through field studies and a study trip to London students will have a chance to see how Positive Psychology or elements hereof is applied in real world settings. 2 Objective learning of the course Be able to define what positive psychology is and understand this definition in relation to other fields of psychology Learn about the philosophical and theoretical foundations of positive psychology Understand how wellbeing is understood and measured across the world Understand the dynamics of positive emotions on a range of outcomes and find research to back up these finding Explore and understand the research on character strengths and how strengths can be applied. Students will here find their own character strengths and on their own explore ways to align these with their study-goals. Examine the concepts of self-determination theory and dig deeper into the issues related to intrinsic motivation in education. Examine how positive psychology is applied in real world settings on field studies and study trips. See and evaluate the challenges facing applied positive psychology first hand Examine mindfulness meditation and identify relevant research supporting the practice Explore if Danes really are the happiest people on the planet through interviews and blog-writing Course Components 1) Required Texts We will use a textbook, additional readings, video presentations, as well as in- and out-of-class exercises, group work and creative experiments. The class session format consists of lecture and discussion of cases, exercises. Your active participation and consistent preparation for class is essential for you to attain course objectives. We will primarily use the textbook: Hefferon, K., & Boniwell, I., (2010). Positive Psychology. Theory, Research and Application. McGraw Hill. In combination with the textbook a range of articles will also be used. The purpose of the articles serve the purpose of showing the width and depth of the research being done in the area of Positive Psychology. When reading articles pay most attention to review, findings and discussion part. Methods will only be touched upon briefly. 2) Expectation both ways I seek to make classes engaging and endorse an open learning environment where I expect students to reflect upon their own learning objectives and align these with those of the course. Classes are mainly based on brief lectures and extensive discussion and sharing of research insights. An emphasis is put on the research of well-being and so I expect students to actively engage in identification of research as well as discussion and presentation of this research. Besides research a range of application will be discussed and tried and I expect students to approach these exercises with an open mind. All learning is dependent on your engagement. Being an effective participant in class discussions and activities involves all of the following: 3 Positive Psychology Semester Year DIS 3 credits Course Number Raising and answering questions about the readings or topic of lecture/discussion Sharing ideas, observations and personal experiences Highlighting relevant data in a case or reading Proposing potential solutions and providing an argument for why you think your solution might be effective Relating and synthesizing the ideas of others Pointing out relationships between the current topic and earlier topics covered in the course Helping others develop their views and ideas through constructive and respectful disagreement Playing to your strengths all while stretching your comfort zone Besides classes, short and long study tours as well as field studies are an important element of the program. It is therefore expected: That you participate in all academic visits That you research the visits and come prepared That you take an active part in asking questions That you take notes and reflect on these notes That you seek to relate the information provided in the academic visits to classes, and reading materials. 3) Awards Academic Excellence Award Each semester we recognize one outstanding student from the Psychology Program (Positive Psychology, European Clinical Psychology or Cross-Cultural Psychology) with an Award of Academic Excellence. It is reserved for a student who has distinguished him- or herself through diligence, commitment, academic performance, and ideally a student who contributes to a good, collaborative learning environment in class. Intercultural Leadership Award All DIS students are eligible to apply for the Intercultural Leadership Award if they have accumulated enough points during the course of the semester or year through their housing, academic courses and other activities. For more information, please see: Policies Attendance You are expected to attend all DIS classes when scheduled. If you miss multiple classes the Director of Teaching and Learning, and the Director of Student Affairs will be notified and they will follow-up with you to make sure that all is well. Absences will jeopardize your grade and your standing at DIS. Allowances will be made in cases of illness, but in the case of multiple absences you will need to provide a doctor s note. Late arrival to class is only accepted in emergency and regular late arrival will inflict on your participation grade. Use of computers, iphones, cell phones etc. in class Based on an atmosphere of trust, computers are allowed in class for note taking and other learning relevant purposes. In case of other uses such as Facebook, s or internet surfing, it will have a negative impact on 4 your participation grade. Cell phones are to be shut off during class and texting/sms'ing etc. during class will have a negative impact on your participation grade. Upon witnessing misconduct in this area, students will be given a warning and if behavior persists a notice of grade reduction. Academic Honesty: Plagiarism and Violating the Rules of an Assignment DIS expects that students abide by the highest standards of intellectual honesty in all academic work. DIS assumes that all students do their own work and credit all work or thought taken from others. Academic dishonesty will result in a final course grade of F and can result in dismissal. The students home universities will be notified. DIS reserves the right to request that written student assignments be turned in electronic form for submission to plagiarism detection software. See the Academic Handbook for more information, or ask your instructor if you have questions. To be eligible for a passing grade in this class you must complete all of the assigned work. Late papers will not be accepted. Disability and resource statement: Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact Sean Green at to coordinate this. In order to receive accommodations, students should inform the instructor of approved DIS accommodations within the first two weeks of classes. Assignments, Evaluation and Grading Assignment Evaluated how Due Participation and personal learning plan Individually Learning plan dues Sunday Sep. 2 nd at 5 pm. Theoretical essay on topic of own choice: Individually October 11 th at Positive Emotions 10 pm. Strengths Mindfulness Self-Determination Percentage of grade 15% 25% Discussion paper: Why Are Danes Happy? Final Paper Individually or groups of max. three Individually graded November 9 th at 5 pm. 30% December 7 th at 5 pm. 30% Total 100% Participation, (Percentage of grade 15%) Active participation in class includes taking an active part in discussion and displaying personal reflection. Details on this will be discussed in our first class. 5 Positive Psychology Semester Year DIS 3 credits Course Number Besides this all students write a personal learning plan outlining their commitment to the course and their personal learning objectives. Part of the participation grade is also given on behalf of academic behavior, curiosity, interest and active attention on short and long study trips. Theoretical Essay: Combing theory, research and application (Percentage of grade 25%) (Maximum of 5 pages) This paper is a traditional essay based on one of the following four topics: Positive Emotions Strengths Mindfulness Self-Determination You may choose either one of the four topics and build your essay on the basis of the following questions: What are the theoretical components underlying the chosen topic? What does the chosen topic say about well-being and / or optimal functioning? How does the topic relate to other fields of psychology you know of? How might the topic be applied? And what research supports this application? What is important to be critical about with regards to the chosen topic? The essay is to be written in a formal tone similar to other psychology essays and correct referencing using APA standards is demanded. Se grading matrix for further expectations Discussion paper: Why are Danes Happy? (Percentage of grade 30%) (5 pages essay) Essay part: Based on theory and your own observations and interviews, this paper seeks to answer the question What might be the reasons for Denmark being ranked as the happiest country in the world? Your response should include a discussion of both points listed below: 1. Discuss your observations from a theoretical perspective with reference to secondary literature. Be sure to cite your secondary references in your text. 2. Discuss your own reactions to the observations you have made taking your own personal values into consideration. Please separate sections with clear headers and use correct APA style referencing. See grading matrix for further explanation on expectations 6 FINAL PAPER: (Percentage of grade 30%). Combined discussion and reflection paper. (Maximum of 10 pages) This paper is a synthesis of the learning processes and experiences gained through the entire course. It must contain all of the following: 1. How can Positive Psychology theory and core concepts be applied to facilitate people s well-being / optimal functioning in general or in a specific domain (sports, education, family etc.) Your response to this question should build upon the knowledge you have gained about Positive Psychology. It should include a discussion of the pros and cons of the Positive Psychology theory and core concepts with reference to class readings, additional literature, study tours and class lectures. Be sure to cite your references in your text. This part should be app. 4-5 pages 2. The future of Positive Psychology Where do you assess Positive Psychology will be heading in the future? And where would you like Positive Psychology to go? Argue for your view on how the future should look for Positive Psychology. This part should be app. 1-2 pages 3. Your professional and personal take away What impact, if any, has this course had on you and why? What will you professionally and personally take with you from this course? In this part you should reflect on your personal learning plan from the start of the semester. This part should be app. 1-2 pages. This last section of the paper is not graded. Please separate sections with clear headers and use correct APA style referencing. 7 Positive Psychology Semester Year DIS 3 credits Course Number Classes: Class 1 Monday, August INTRODUCTION Learning objectives: Clarity on course objectives Clarity on assignments Why study Positive Psychology Topics to be covered: Course objectives and structure Assignments Structure of classes Course survey and its findings (will be introduced and orientation) Open discussion: Why study Positive Psychology? Readings and Assignments for class Read syllabus Chapter 1 - Seligman MEP (2011) Flourish: a visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Free, New York (on Blackboard) o If you think of your own idea of well-being, how would you weigh the five components of PERMA? Hefferon, K., & Boniwell, I., (2010). Positive Psychology. Theory, Research and Application. McGraw Hill. Pp (Chapter 1) o Why is Positive Psychology worth studying? Class 2 Monday, Sep 3 Core Class Week Workshop I What is Positive Psychology? Learning objectives: Be able to define Positive Psychology Relate Positive Psychology to other fields of psychology History and epistemology of Positive Psychology Research well-being Topics to be covered: Is Positive Psychology a field of it s own our or more a focus that compliments 8 other fields of psychology Study of happiness over millennia Development within Positive Psychology from happiness to subjective wellbeing to optimal functioning The epistemology Positive Psychology different aspects of well-being How is well-being measured Positive Psychology with critical lenses Readings and Assignments for class Read Syllabus Gable, S.L., & Haidt J. (2005). What (and Why) Is Positive Psychology? Review of General Psychology, 2005, Vol 9., No. 2, Linley et. Al (2006) Positive Psychology: Past, present, and (possible) future. The Journal of Positive Psychology, January 2006; 1(1): 3 16 Hefferon, K., & Boniwell, I., (2010). Positive Psychology. Theory, Research and Application. McGraw Hill. Pp Assignments after class Personal learning plan (due Sunday Sep. 2 nd at 6 pm.) Class 3 Tuesday, Sep 4 Core Class Week Workshop II Two angles on Positive Psychology This day is dedicated to a workshop with external speaker and watching the movie Happy Ebbe Lavendt, MSc. (psychology)., organizational psychologist and Master of Applied Psychology. Watch and discuss the Positive Psychology movie Happy Ebbe Lavendt runs The Danish Center for Positive Psychology ( in Copenhagen which communicates research on optimal human functioning. Ebbe is currently completing a PhD on Positive Psychology and Coaching. Ebbe will share his thoughts on Positive Psychology through the lenses of psychology as well as update us on his latest research on Positive Psychology and coaching. From the movies description: HAPPY takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Calcutta in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews 9 Positive Psychology Semester Year DIS 3 credits Course Number with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion. Short Study Tour Thursday, Sep 6 Saturday, Sep 8 Western Denmark The short field study serves two purposes a social and an academic. As for the social purpose it will give the class a good way to get to know each other and form study groups for the rest of the semester. As for the academic part the trip will give the students a first hand impression of three real world applications of Positive Psychology. Class 4 Monday, Sep 10 Positive Emotions and the theory of Broaden and Build Learning objectives: Understand the dynamics of positive emotions through the theoretical lens of The Broaden and Build Theory, Fredrickson (2003) combining this with a research and application perspective from emotional intelligence. Relate the concept of positive emotions to other areas of psychology Topics to be covered: Lecture on the
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