WHY WE DO THIS WORK

A Strong Education System is the Foundation of a Flourishing Society

Education for Flourishing is a project of the Consortium for Human Flourishing at Saint Louis University. This project uses an interdisciplinary approach to promote individual and community flourishing in K-12 and Higher Education settings by connecting research to practice. 

Flourishing, or what is also referred to as complete wellbeing, is considered to be the ultimate aim of life (Keyes, 2002).

 

Governments and policymakers around the world have started to measure flourishing as a marker of national progress. While fields like public health have started to investigate ways to promote individual and community flourishing, the field of education has yet to adopt flourishing as one of its primary goals. 

Dewey (1934) once stated, “any education is, in its forms and methods, an outgrowth of the needs of the society in which it exists.”

 

Given that one of the primary challenges of the 21st century is the wellbeing of children and youth, education systems around the world will have to revisit their purpose and the way they are structured to meet the needs of the societies in which they exist.

 

Poor mental health and languishing are related to poor academic and behavioral outcomes, it is vital for the field of education to actively promote the flourishing of children and youth (Witten, Savahl, and Adams, 2019). 

 

Instead of approaching mental health from a reactive and deficit lens, schools will have to adopt an approach that promotes individual and community flourishing.

Flourishing as a goal of education is not a new concept. Many education philosophers have proposed this in the past (Wolbert, de Ruyter, and Schinkel, 2015) . Even though there is no agreed upon definition of flourishing,

Vanderweele (2017) states there is broad census that for an individual to flourish they must do well in at least the following five domains:

  1. Mental and Physical Health

  2. Meaning & Purpose

  3. Close Social Relationships

  4. Character & Virtue

  5. Happiness & Life Satisfaction