May 20, 2024

Shawn Achor on the Power of Happiness in Education

2 min read


Success doesn’t arrive from tricky do the job it truly is the outcome of seeking out contentment. ASCD talks with researcher, lecturer, and New York Moments bestselling creator Shawn Achor about what “contentment” truly suggests — and the transformative result it can have in instruction spaces — on The ASCD Blog site.


Resource connection Shawn Achor, Harvard-educated positive psychology expert and author of The Happiness Advantage, recently gave a TED-style talk on the power of happiness in education. Taking a unique perspective, Achor’s address explored how shifting motivations within the classroom can lead to improved educational outcomes.

Achor warned against the prevailing attitude of “success first, happiness eventually”, which leads to students pouring effort into studies and other academic interests in the hope of eventual external rewards. According to Achor, this defeats the purpose since external rewards are often too late to shape the desired habits and behaviours.

He suggested shifting the focus in the classroom to the notion of “happiness first, success eventually” instead. Achor argued that when students feel a sense of purpose and passion for a task, their learning preferences and job satisfaction is improved. Positive emotions such as empathy and optimism also have a positive influence on academic success.

Under Achor’s proposal, this shift in focus can be achieved through activities like meditation, gratitude journals and gratitude visits. Doing so can significantly decrease stress levels, improve relationships and increase productivity.

Achor’s talk resonated with the audience, which consisted of experts and educators from around the world. His growth-oriented perspectives and emphasis on cultivating wellbeing as a source of knowledge, connection and creativity opened up new possibilities for creating a more rewarding learning environment.

The talk provided valuable insight into the power of happiness in education, and how it can be harnessed in the classroom. Shawn Achor’s emphasis on how shifting the focus to happiness can create a strong grounding for better educational outcomes is without a doubt something that is worth exploring.