Integrating Healthy Personality Development and Educational Practices: The Case of Student Engagement with School

  • Paulo A. S. MoreiraEmail author
  • Diana Cunha
  • Richard Inman
  • Joana Oliveira
Part of the Contemporary Clinical Neuroscience book series (CCNE)


Background: Positive, or healthy, personality development is a strong predictor of major lifelong adaptive processes and outcomes across different functioning domains. Consequently, the systematic promotion of healthy personality in children and adolescents via education contexts and practices is an imperative for contemporary societies. There is a growing consensus about the need for societies to shift from a paradigm of conventional schooling to person-centered schools. Structural features of person-centered schools include (a) a conception of individuals as whole persons, (b) an emphasis on subjective experience and on processes, (c) centrality of positive relationships, and (d) an emphasis on positive features of psychobiological functioning. This shift may be perceived as intangible, or as implying abrupt and disruptive changes. However, the promotion of healthy personality development in schools is not a question of all or nothing, but rather a continuum. Further, there are a substantial number of schools already promoting healthy or positive development, even if unintentionally or via means of processes and constructs more typical of school and educational traditions. Aims: We argue that student engagement with school is a paradigmatic example of a narrower expression of personality in the education and school context. We aim to describe how the promotion of healthy personality development is possible within the context of current educational practices, including school improvement efforts to reach educational excellence and equity. Conclusions: As an expression of personality, student engagement with school is a process that is malleable to intervention and particularly sensitive to interpersonal influences (including teacher-students relationships). Student engagement with school is, therefore, an example of how personality and educational constructs can be integrated into effective educational and school practices, including in school improvement and re-restructuring efforts.


Student engagement Person-centered schools Character Health 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paulo A. S. Moreira
    • 1
    Email author
  • Diana Cunha
    • 1
  • Richard Inman
    • 1
  • Joana Oliveira
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação, Universidade Lusíada Norte (Porto), Centro de Investigação em Psicologia para o Desenvolvimento (CIPD)PortoPortugal

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