Sunday, September 20, 2015

No Buts About It.

Disneyland and Disney World are touted as being the "Happiest" places on earth.  I disagree, even though I really did enjoy the trip the three times I've wandered the Orlando park.  Happiness for me, however, is when I'm working on lesson plans, and the most amazing resource suddenly presents itself, giving life to my lesson, and contemporary relevance to the topic.  This semester, our focus is Disney, with a giant dose of student autonomy and inquiry-based learning.

So today, I thank the fine folks at Edutopia who have given me the golden ticket, this time in the article entitled "Strategies for Helping Students Motivate Themselves."  Sure, there have been many a conversation about the value and/or harm of positives and praise, yet somehow Disney/Pixar has found a way to deliver productivity and motivational messages to their employees, while preserving self-efficacy and positive self-image.

Plussing is a HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skill) strategy  that hasn't made it to the district-distributed flipchart, and I may be adding a page to mine, just to keep myself in the loop of this brilliant strategy.  Here's the magic:  instead of offering constructive criticism, the discussion between employer and employee includes the words "what if?" , attempting to build on the project without the use of judgmental language.  In an article entitled "You've Been Doing a Fantastic Job. Just One Thing", the art of effective feedback is explored.  Within that article, you guessed it, is the dude behind the Disney/Pixar Plussing research, Peter Sims.

“Animators at Pixar freely describe how painful it can be to have directors plussing their ideas until the smallest details, say a sliver of hair, seems just perfect,” he writes in his book. “But plussing allows for both pointed critique and positive feedback simultaneously, so that even such persistent criticism is not deflating.” 

The next few days will be difficult for me, as I stand back and keep the "solutions" to myself, as teams of students work to solve the creativity challenge tossed at them last week.  When given a challenge like that, everything is fair game, AND nothing is incorrect.

Some things just might need to be plussed a bit.  So this week, there will be math happening in the English wing, as we add more to the already blossoming brilliance.