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English Teaching and the Science of Happiness: Positive psychology communication activities for language learning

By Marc Helgesen

Bringing a focus on happiness to the classroom

For teachers.  Applying concepts from positive psychology to ELT

Teacher interventions… might go some way to counteract the anxiety which for many learners… .. is their default setting…. ..This book offers a blueprint for just such a project.—Scott Thornbury

English Teaching and the Science of Happiness is a resource of activities for language teachers who wish to bring some of what we know about positive psychology into their classrooms. The premise of the resource is a simple one—that happy, engaged learners having positive classroom experiences are more effective language learners. And while the focus of the activities in English Teaching and the Science of Happiness is primarily on helping students have positive feelings towards the learning of English and in giving them practice in different aspects of the language, a parallel aim is to help students gain the happiness management skills that may help them lead happier, more engaged lives outside of the classroom. It has been estimated that 40% of our positive feelings are based on things that we choose to do, that this is something we have some control over. With a change in our habits and in what we look at, we can all potentially be happier.


The book is divided into three main sections:


Introducing Happiness gives activities that introduce students to some of the strategies of positive psychology.

Happiness Language Activities are tasks organized around these strategies.

Happiness 2.0 are tasks organized around the concept of well-being using Dr.Martin Seligman's PERMA model (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationshihps, Meaningfulness, Achievement).  

The activities in English Teaching and the Science of Happiness are suitable for language learners at different age and language levels, these clearly indicated at the start of any activity, and can be flexibly applied, ranging in length from short 5-10 minute activities that can be used to augment a lesson, to classroom length activities, to projects that can extend over a series of classes.


We hope that you and your students can engage happily with some of the wide variety of activities offered in this book, and that beyond the practice given, for some at least, there will be positive effects and insights that carry over into their approaches to language study and to life. 

ISBN : 978-1-78547-013-4 Price: ¥4730 (¥4300)
Level ISBN Included with text Price
- 978-1-78547-013-4 - ¥4730 (¥4300)
Included with text Free online(s) Sold separately
Teacher's Notes