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Emotional Capital Development, Positive Psychology and Mindful Teaching: Which Links?

Bénédicte Gendron, Eleni-Sofia Kouremenou, Carmen Rusu


The start of university life requires a period of adaptation, which can sometimes have an impact on the mental health of students. The latest results from the Observatoire National de la Vie Etudiante (OVE, 2013) show that more that 40% of university students report symptoms of psychological fragility (sleep problems, fatigue, depression, stress or loneliness), which can impact their level of wellbeing and performance. Beyond Savoirs [knowledge], Savoir Faire [knowing what to do], the role of Savoir Être [knowing how to be] referring to a set of emotional competencies, is crucial in sustaining human capital in a broad sense, personal development and health (Gendron 2004). During the Initiatives d'Excellence en Formations Innovantes (IDEFI) Programme, [Initiatives of Excellence in Innovative Training] 132 first year university students of education underwent an intervention (a minimum of six workshops of four hours) aimed at developing their emotional capital. Using two approaches PIA2 (European Management and Project Management Methodology) and ACT Training derived from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) the objective was to develop trainees' social and personal emotional competencies such as self-esteem, self-knowledge, empathy and conflict management. Using an interdisciplinary approach drawing on educational theory, theory of human resources and positive psychology, the results show that emotional capital, developed using positive psychology tools, can improve wellbeing and contribute to a holistic personal development.
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