Written by Elizabeth Chung
Social studies teacher Ronen Habib started teaching Positive Psychology three years ago. “Positive Psychology is a class that teaches students how to live a better life, how to be happier and be well,” Habib said. “I wanted to offer a class that would help kids understand how to prioritize their well-beings, their health and happiness above just academics.”
Students engage in diverse exercises during class. “We end up doing a lot of class discussions, journals, we write some papers,” Habib said. “Students learn about positive psychology concepts and theory, but they also experience personal growth through different activities.”
Senior Giannina Yu enjoyed the activities throughout the course and said they helped her become less stressed. “After taking the class, you find that you unconsciously think about things you are grateful for; you are unconsciously meditating,” Yu said. “It just changes the way you see your life and handle things that stress you out.”
Habib ultimately wants students to take the lessons and incorporate them into their daily lives. “The primary goal is to teach students how to be more peaceful, more mindful about the way they go about their lives, to be more self-compassionate and kind to themselves and also to recognize their strength,” Habib said. “I do want students to understand specific concepts and positive psychology theories, but what I really want them to do is to then take this information and assimilate it to themselves and to their own lives and really to understand that we live life choice by choice basically, and we have a lot more choices than we are aware of.”
The openness and the sense of community differentiate the class from others. “People open up and are vulnerable with one another and they share,” Habib said. “That allows actual growth to happen and it’s special.”
Yu believes students who are more open to sharing experiences that they encountered will be able to get more out of the class. “Just keep an open mind and be willing to get to know yourself and other people,” she said.
Habib says students should take a chance with the class. “If they care about learning how to be at their best self and the happiest with their well-being, then they should just come,” he said.