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Last year Finnish pension fund Elo wanted to give Finland a gift that matters to celebrate the country’s 100 years of independence. Elo decided to do this by giving 100 primary school classes licenses to positive peer communication tool, Mightifier. Plenty of teachers sent in applications and explained why it was their class that needed this tool for developing positive atmosphere. “I have a class full of wonderful students, but they haven’t yet realized how wonderful they are”, one teacher wrote.

It was touching to read the applications and see how dedicated and caring teachers we have here in Finland. Teachers, who genuinely want to get rid of bullying and help students to flourish. They just haven’t had tools for doing that! There’s no denying that the gift Elo gave was truly meaningful. Now we’d like to share with you 10 examples of positive effects this gift had:

1. BETTER SELF-ESTEEM. 100 classes of students, more than 2000 kids, got to see what they are good at. Positive peer-feedback based on character strengths is a key for good self-esteem.  Studies among school kids have also shown that good self-esteem is linked to good health. [1]

2. LESS BULLYING. In classes who were using Mightifier, kids reported less bullying than before. In 100 classes this means more than 200 students, who said they had been experiencing bullying previously but not anymore.

3. MORE FRIENDS. According to Finnish teenagers the lack of friends is the biggest reason for social exclusion. [2] Mightifying builds more positive relationships and 96 % of students in Elo-classes said they now have more than one friend.

4. TENS OF THOUSANDS OF POSITIVE MESSAGES. During one year the students of these 100 classes gave each other tens of thousands of positive messages. Over all the top three strengths they saw in each other were kindness, humor and fairness.

5. SHOOL ENGAGEMENT. Typically school engagement and enthusiasm decrease as the semester goes on and as the school years pass. With active Mightifiers school engagement kept increasing. In this example class Mightifier Wellbeing Pulse shows that after fall semester 2017 everyone likes coming to school.

6. POSITIVITY SPREAD OUTSIDE CLASSROOMS. Positive feedback started to become a habit outside of classroom too. E.g. students gave positive feedback to their moms on Mother’s Day. Top strength of moms seemed to be our February strength of the month – love!

7. STRENGTHS FOR THE WORKING LIFE. HR Partner Annette Lius from Elo shared her insights on what are some of the core strengths needed in the working life in the future – read more here! With Mightifier Lesson Plans, students can keep on recognizing and practicing e.g. leadership, perspective and creativity.

8. STRENGTH FEEDBACK FOR FINLAND. The gift Elo gave to Finland inspired us to continue the circle of positivity and Mightify the whole country as well. After people around the world mightified Finland the Top 3 strengths of Finland were persistence, honesty and fairness.

9. WORK WELL-BEING. Teacher’s workplace well-being is affected positively when there’s a better atmosphere in the classroom. “When you consciously focus on what is great and working in the class, it enhances your own well-being at work too”, says Finnish teacher Anssi Iivonen from Karamzinin koulu, Espoo.

10. BETTER HEALTH. Students get to master active empathy when giving positive feedback to one another. Active empathy is not only a handy emotional skill, but it affects people’s health concretely. Research has shown that doing good for someone else can decrease blood pressure as much as starting to exercise regularly does. [3]

It was awesome to collaborate together with Elo. Like we say here in Finland – it is strength to co-operate!

[1] Kannas, L. 1995. Koululaisten kokema terveys, hyvinvointi ja kouluviihtyvyys: WHO-koululaistutkimus.
[2] Nuorisotutkimusseura. 2017. Työtä, koulutus-tai harjoittelupaikkaa ilman olevien nuorten käsityksiä tulevaisuudesta, demokratiasta ja julkisista palveluista. Saatavilla täällä.
[3] Whillans, A. V., Dunn, E. W., Sandstrom, G. M., Dickerson, S. S., Madden & K. M. 2016. Is spending money on others good for your heart? Health Psychology, Vol 35 (6), 574–583.

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