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22nd Mar 2018

Here’s A Six-Part Method To Help Children Become Happier At School


Are conventional teaching methods the best way for a child to learn? Let’s explore
something a little bit different today.

Set to open this September, Nord Anglia International School Dublin promises to offer an
alternative way of learning that you won’t find elsewhere in Ireland. The institution is part
of a global educational network that aims to inspire students to become global citizens and
— with links to world-class organisations like UNICEF, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) in Boston, and the Juilliard School of performing arts in New York —
build up life skills like creativity, collaboration, and confidence.

Part of what sets the school apart is its use of a model of wellbeing called PERMAH, which
was pioneered by psychologist Dr Martin Seligman. It fosters positive emotions in order to
improve a student’s performance, though it applies equally as well to adults as it does to

While a focus on emotional methods over logical in the classroom may seem ineffective on
the surface level, Principal Paul Crute gives this explanation of the rationale: “the emotions
need to be engaged in education, and service learning does just that in spades”.

The practice known as “service learning” is one way in which the school emotionally
educates its students and aligns with the mission of the International Baccalaureate (IB) to create a better world through education. Young people will perform
worthwhile charitable efforts in the community, requiring them to use social skills such
as positivity, smiling, civility, helpfulness, courtesy and politeness regularly. During the
course of the charitable efforts, students will see the real effect they can have on the lives of
others — and develop a taste for it.

It’s through service learning that Nord Anglia International School Dublin channels the power of
the PERMAH model in order to light the learning spark in its young students.

But what actually is PERMAH, you ask? Here’s what those letters stand for — and what
they mean for students:

Positive emotions

Enjoyment arises when we’re intellectually challenged and we find ourselves rising to the

By persevering in the face of difficult tasks which stimulate the mind, an individual
emerges with a sense of satisfaction and they want to experience that feeling again.

Nord Anglia International School Dublin will use service learning to foster positive emotions
in students of all ages.

Happy Students


We’ve all experienced the feeling of being so completely absorbed in a task that we lose
track of time completely — this is the kind of sensation that students should be feeling
when immersed in a lesson. It’s called ‘flow’.

Through activities like art, music, sports and service learning, Nord Anglia International School Dublin will endeavour to
allow students to experience the “flow” state where they’re utterly engaged with the task in


It’s important to encourage close, meaningful relationships in students as strong social ties
are linked to psychological health and happiness. We often ‘connect’ with people when we
‘disconnect’ with media and technology.

People measure their lives in comparison to their peers, so children will look to those
around them when determining what to value in life. It’s about soulmates, real tangible
connections, and not seven hundred friends on a social media platform.

By encouraging a wish to succeed in school peer groups, be it on the playing field or while
performing a community service, that desire will spread through a chain of relationships.

School Friends Reading


According to the psychologist Rollo May, true happiness comes from creating meaning in
your life.

By doing something for others, something that genuinely impacts on their lives for the
better, you don’t just make their lives better but by default, your own life too.

That’s why NAIS Dublin students will practice service learning in the local community: to foster their growth not only as people, but to grow in happiness too. As Principal Crute likes to say, ask a pupil to volunteer and
she will hesitate. Tell the pupil she is needed and she will come running. We all need to be
involved in something bigger than ourselves.


Self-esteem grows in parallel with your list of achievements and so does your belief in your
own abilities.

Through service learning, students at Nord Anglia will tangibly improve their community,
which will leave them with a clear, unequivocal sense of having really achieved something.

So what happens when you give a child a sense of achievement and the
confidence to believe that they can do something again? They have the self-belief to keep
on doing it.


Why do we need to do 10,000 steps a day?
Why is dark chocolate better than milk chocolate? Why are superfoods super? Nord Anglia
International School Dublin students will know why. Knowing about knowing is called “metacognition” and is a powerful tool to give to the young.

Healthy School Children

The whole idea of PERMAH is that you don’t have to be wealthy in monetary terms to be happy Positive, Engaged, enjoy meaningful Relationships, live a life of Meaning, or to Achieve
things and be Healthy.

Does that sound like a way you’d like your child to be taught? If you’d like to find out more about Nord Anglia International School Dublin, click HERE.