Kelsi's Insight on Education

Thinking and Being Positive

Posted on: July 17, 2010

As you may have read in the previous post, one of my passions is learning and teaching leadership development skills. I think it’s important that as educators, we aren’t just teaching our subject area, but that we are helping our students become well-rounded individuals, and teaching them more about themselves and how to interact (well) with others. Something I came across in my training as a Leadership Consultant was a theory called Whale Done- The Power of Positive Relationships. The concept is that of the way they train the whales at Sea World. They don’t scold or give negative feedback, the trainers Accentuate the Positive, Build Trust and when mistakes occur they redirect the energy.

I used the Whale Done theory in the classroom this past year with my 7th grade students. By praising immediately, being specific, sharing positive feelings and encouraging them to keep up the good work, I tried hard to make the English classroom somewhere, where my students felt comfortable. At the beginning of the year, each student colored a cut out whale and put their name on it. They then taped them onto the wall in the back of the classroom. Every Friday (though we slacked towards the middle-to-end of the school year) students gave praise or “Whale Done’s” to other classmates. I also would give out “Whale Done’s” to those that helped around the classroom during that week or did well/improved on writing prompts, vocabulary quizzes, etc. We also did this when students presented in front of the class. I would simply ask, “would anyone like to give a Whale Done to this group that just presented?” and they would Accentuate the Positive and point out aspects of the presentation they liked and were interested in. Many of them got SO excited when they received a Whale Done and were able to get up and move their whale from one side of the wall to the other.

Another book/theory I came across is called, How Full Is Your Bucket. The main idea behind this, is that everyone has their own ‘personal bucket’ and through the interactions they have with others throughout their day, their bucket is either filled or emptied. One can fill their own bucket, while ‘filling’ up another’s – giving positive praise, etc. OR one can empty their own bucket, while emptying others – negative interactions. I have used this concept in my volunteer work as a 4-H Leader with the 4-Her’s… and still thinking about ways to incorporate this in the classroom. I was thinking about sharing it with my homeroom students, during the Olweus Bullying sessions, where an emphasis of the program is creating a trusting/positive environment, etc.

One more clip that I wanted to share was a video that I came across on Facebook, from a friend of a friend’s page… A nice pick me up on how to stay positive. Words of Wisdom from someone wise beyond her years!

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1 Response to "Thinking and Being Positive"

What an awesome philosophy you have and have shared with us. I look forward to reading more of your posts. It sounds like your students are very lucky to have someone like you teaching the way you do…

~ John

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