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Coming in 2018

Coming in 2018

English Teaching and the Science of Happiness by Marc Helgesen. Positive psychology communication activities for language learners.

ISBN: 978-1-896942-89-6

Why positive psychology in ELT? As author Marc Helgesen notes in his introduction.

"University of California researcher and positive psychology pioneer Sonja Lyubomirsky identified “Eight steps toward a more satisfying life” (2005, p. 32-33). They are as follows:      

  1. Remember good things in your life.  (Count your blessings)
  2. Do kind things.
  3. Say “thank you” to people who help you.
  4. Take time for your friends and family.
  5. Forgive people who hurt you.
  6. Take care of your body and health. 
  7. Notice good things as they happen.
  8. Learn to work with your problems and stress.

When I saw Lyubomirsky’s list, which I paraphrased to make it more accessible for learners, what struck me is that most of the things on it are similar to things we are already doing in many language classes.  “Friends and family” and “health” are standard topics in many elementary-level classes. “Remember good things in your life” – that’s grammar. It demands some sort of past tense. “Notice good things as they happen” requires the present.  “Thanking” and “Forgiving” are language functions, often carried out with fixed language routines. 

            If we are doing similar things anyway, why not do them in a way that focuses on and elicits positive emotion? They go so much deeper than bland topics like, “What’s your favorite sports team” and “Who’s your favorite movie star” common in so many ELT textbooks." 


Coming in 2018! Watch out for it.

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