My previous post ("Well-Being Defined") covered the components that make up adult well-being: Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment.
While these are applicable to all people, there is a way to better connect these concepts with our students from a developmental standpoint. Some awesome people from the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University (Margaret L. Kern, Lisbeth Benson, Elizabeth A. Steinberg, and Laurence Steinberg) created a way to measure the well-being of adolescents. Instead of PERMA, the acronym EPOCH is used: Engagement, Perseverance, Optimism, Connectedness, Happiness. I mentioned EPOCH in a recent post, but I thought it would be helpful to go into more detail. While some of the definitions are similar to PERMA, there are some subtle differences and additions.
The 5 Building Blocks of Student Well-Being: EPOCH
Engagement is basically the same as the adult definition of Engagement. It is being so completely absorbed in an activity that you lose track of time--you are in flow.
Perseverance could also be called “grit.” It is the ability to keep going when you face adversity. Perseverance means you set goals, go after them despite the challenges you face, and stick to it even if it takes awhile.
Optimism is having both hope and confidence about the future. In general, you view things in a favorable way and when negative events happen, you see them as only temporary.
Connectedness deals with relationships and feeling close to others. It involves feeling loved, supported, and valued by people in your life.
Happiness is a general feeling of joy, cheer, and contentment with life. It is important to note that you may not feel happy every moment, but you generally feel content with life.
Can You Measure EPOCH?
Thanks to the survey created by Kern, Benson, the Steinbergs, we can definitely measure student well-being based on EPOCH. The 20-question survey asks participants to rank varying personal descriptions based on 5 categories ranging from “not like me” to “very much like me.” Each EPOCH building block is related to 4 questions (see picture).
How I Used the Survey
I administered the survey without much explanation to get a baseline of my students. I then started implementing a couple of strategies to enhance well-being: “What Went Well” & “Gratitudes.” (These are explained in an earlier blog post). After 25 days, we took the survey again to see growth. You can learn more about my study here: https://www.duanejourdeans.com/blog/can-teachers-actually-increase-student-well-being-in-just-a-couple-minutes-a-day-yes