Keys to the Positive Classroom Workshop

This workshop aims to support teachers and school leaders in their efforts to strengthen classroom practice by upskilling participants in the key theories, concepts and research-validated practices that support teacher wellbeing and performance, and the wellbeing, engagement and achievement of students.

In seeking to equip teachers with knowledge to improve their professional practice, this workshop recognises the strong evidence-based links between classroom climate, teacher-student relationships, and effective learning. It aligns with current school and educational system priorities in Australia and beyond, expressed for example in the NSW Department of Education's Wellbeing Framework for Schools, which states that student learning occurs best when students are actively connected to their learning, have positive and respectful relationships and experience a sense of belonging to their school and community; and are respected, valued, encouraged, supported and empowered to succeed.

Research, for example by Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock (2010), affirms that the individual classroom teacher is an important influence on student engagement and learning, and therefore improving teachers' professional practice may be the most effective lever available to school leaders to raise student engagement and achievement.

Positive relationships between teachers and students are central to creating and maintaining supportive and safe learning environments, and the key to positive academic and non-academic outcomes (Whitton et al., 2016, p. 243). Since teacher capacity to build positive relationships reflects teacher wellbeing, it follows that encouraging teachers to adopt evidence-based Habits of Wellbeing drawn from the field of Positive Psychology (Seligman, 2011) is likely to yield benefits both inside and outside the classroom.

A further contribution from Positive Psychology is the recognition that individual self-esteem, engagement and performance is improved through a focus on what is strong, rather than what is wrong. In other words, highlighting, growing and leveraging one's Character Strengths has been shown by Peterson & Seligman (2004) and by Lea Waters, author of The Strength Switch (2017), to significantly contribute to individual engagement and achievement, and is a now common practice in positive schools.

In addition, different researchers developing theories on human motivation and engagement (for example, Deci & Ryan's Self-Determination Theory and Glasser's Choice Theory) have identified stable psychological needs underlying intrinsically motivated work, namely a sense of competence/success, sufficient autonomy/freedom, and a sense of belonging amid positive relationships. These needs provide a valuable framework for the reflective teacher seeking to optimise student learning in their positive classroom.

Learning objectives

At this workshop, participants will engage in professional learning to:

Workshop feedback

Venue and calendar (2020)

In 2020, the workshop is being held at the Holiday Inn Parramatta on Friday 30 October.


Holiday Inn Parramatta
18-40 Anderson Street, Parramatta
Hotel website | Map | City guide


Date Location Register
Friday 30 October Parramatta Completed

Workshop structure

The workshop is delivered over one day from 8:50am - 3:10pm.

Day 1

Time period Activity
8:30am - 8:50am Arrival tea and coffee
8:50am - 9:00am Introductions
9:00am - 10:00am Module 1: Nurturing teacher wellbeing
10:00am - 10:20am Morning tea
10:20am - 12:20pm Module 2: Growing strengths
12:20pm - 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm - 3:00pm Module 3: Keys to student engagement
3:00pm - 3:10pm Workshop evaluation

Workshop presenter

The workshop is presented by Robert Ritchie.

Rob founded Positive Difference with the mission to deliver comprehensive, research-validated training to optimise individual and organisational wellbeing, performance and leadership capacity. Through Positive Difference, Rob has helped hundreds of teachers update their knowledge and improve their professional practice to the benefit of their students and colleagues.

Rob's strengths are his capacity to see the big picture to draw connections between research fields; synthesise complex research findings into clearly structured frameworks and immediately applicable actions; and share this knowledge in a warm, inspiring and highly engaging way. His VIA signature strengths are perspective, judgement, honesty, creativity and humour.

Rob holds a Master of Education degree, a Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, and a Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing. He is also an accredited practitioner of CAPP's Strengths Profile.

Learn more

Robert Ritchie

Workshop fee and inclusions

Workshop fee

Country Price
Australia (AUD) $329

Recognition of learning

Participants will receive a Statement of Attendance for 5 hours of professional development addressing Standard 6.2.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher accreditation. Additional hours of professional development may be claimable for:

Ongoing support

Participants will be provided with 6 months access to a Professional Development Library containing resources to consolidate and extend their knowledge of the workshop content, and to use for training purposes within their organisation. These resources include:

Other inclusions


Click the link below to register for the workshop at the Holiday Inn Parramatta on Friday 30 October.

Register for the workshop