The 4 Secrets to Effective Teaching

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Picture for a moment, your ideal student. As Dan and Chip Health counsel us to do in their ground-breaking book The Power of Moments, fill in the following sentence with what makes sense to you:

Three-to -Five years from now, my students still know_____, are still able to do _____, or will continue to find value in _________.

Great teachers or mentors manage to maintain high expectations for their students, expressing the knowledge they have that their students will be capable of meeting those high expectations, and that if failure should come knocking, that they will be there to support the recovery.

When we are able to stand alongside a student with our unwavering belief in them, great things can happen. Students can develop an enhanced self-insight and self-worth that will serve them forever.

“I expect you to do X and I believe you have the power, intelligence, and ability to do so. I will be here alongside you should you need my guidance or support. I believe in you more than you know!”

What do you want your students to come away from your class knowing or being able to do? How might this apply to your role as the parent of your children?

 

E 65 – How to Build Trust in Hostile Environments (With Dr. Darryl Stickel)

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/kindsight-101/id1412489005?mt=2

Whether you are a leader, a teacher, a parent or someone who works with people on a regular basis, you’ll come away from this podcast with practical, tactical and easy-to-implement strategies to make you better!

What a treat I have for you today!

Dr. Darryl Stickel is an executive coach and the founder Trust Unlimited. He has a PhD in Business from Duke University and worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company.

He has served clients ranging from senior military professionals deployed in Afghanistan, to senior wealth advisors and family offices providing valued advice to some of North America’s most wealthy families to chief executive officers running multinational corporations. His specialty and passion is “Building trust in hostile environments.”

We know that trust is the number one leadership quality…but how do you build trust? Whether you are a leader, a teacher, a parent or someone who works with people on a regular basis, you’ll come away from this podcast with practical, tactical and easy-to-implement strategies to make you better! Enjoy!

Topics we touch upon:

– Trust (theory and science)
– Two essential questions every leader should ask themselves when starting off the year
– the importance of storytelling in leadership
– The three levers that enable excellent leadership
– Developing trust as it relates to educational leadership
– Developing relationships and trust with students (within our classrooms)
– Practical tips that can help us in developing trust with those around us personally and professionally
– The connection between vulnerability and uncertainty when it comes to creating trust bonds

 

Find more about him on trustunlimited.com

 

 

Shame vs. Humiliation vs. Guilt vs. Embarrassment (Brené Brown)

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Have you ever wondered what the difference between shame, guilt, humiliation, and embarrassment are?  Often we use these words interchangeably, but Dr. Brené Brown has so beautifully described the difference between the 4 terms:

  • Shame is “I am bad”  Shame is a focus on self. Imagine you’ve worked really hard to prepare a presentation with a coworker for an important staff meeting. One of your responsibilities was to prepare the powerpoint. You forget to save the file onto your computer and, as a result, your coworker is disappointed. If you feel shame, your immediate thought pattern is that you’re a bad person. “I’m the worst co-planner ever. I am such a loser for forgetting that powerpoint.”
  • Guilt = “I did something bad”  Guilt is a focus on behavior. If your self talk is : “ahh. I can’t believe I did that.  That was such a crappy thing to do,  I made such a poor choice not to back up my work!”  That’s guilt.

Our self-talk really matters and often frames the way we move through our relationships. Shame is highly correlated to aggression, addiction, depression, suicide, bullying, eating disorders, whereas guilt- the ability to separate who we are from our actions-without degrading our worth.

Guilt is inversely correlated to these same outcomes.  So, it’s much better for our mental health to focus on behaviour, even when we’re speaking in jest about ourselves.

  • Humiliation. With humiliation results in the same physiological response as shame except that you don’t believe you deserve the treatment:  sweaty palms, wish that the ground would swallow you up, wanting to make yourself small, nervous laughter… Dr. Brené Brown uses a school example:

A teacher is handing back papers and one of the students doesn’t have their name on the paper and the teacher calls the kid stupid:  If that child’s self-talk is “that is the meanest, most nasty teacher ever, I didn’t’ deserve that” What that child is likely experiencing is humiliation. As a parent or caregiver- I’m going to hear about that when the kid gets home- because they’re going to be angry and hurt and want to share it.  If the child’s self talk is immediately “ ugh. She’s right, I’m so stupid, why do keep forgetting to put my name on my paper, I’m so stupid,”  Thats shame.”

  • Embarrassment-it isn’t rooted in shame, is often funny and fleeting, and it doesn’t make you feel alone (it’s usually some universal human experience). Just think of that time that you put your sweater on backward and the tag was sticking out for the better part of an afternoon lunch with friends. Once you realize your mistake, it could leave you a little red-faced, but you know deep down that it’s human and that other people have done the same.

Shame is not funny.

Shame leaves one feeling alone and isolated.

Anxiety vs. Presence

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(Picture Courtesy of Amber Rae @heyamberrae on Instagram)

So, it’s that time of year, again.

Frenetic pace.

Anticipation of summer. Deadlines and due dates.

All pistons are firing.

The banality of lunch-making has reached epic proportions. I would rather barter 3 weeks of delivering our garbage to the curb, than pack another blessed lunch kit!

I don’t know about you, but I often feel restless about the change in routine. Transitions get me every time. They sneak up on me like a shadow in the sun. I forget how much I struggle, but lurking close behind is the restlessness of something not-quite-right.

My husband kindly reminds me that every year the transition from school-year to summertime shakes me up. I guess, like most educators, I’m a creature of habit.

So, I thought I’d share this graphic because it resonates with me.

Anxiety can often be derived from an obsessive focus on what’s next. Needing the certainty in an uncertain future.

The alternative?

Presence. It’s simple but not easy. When I feel a sense of restless discontent that I often associate with transitions, the best thing for me to do is to get still. Dialing back into the “now,” with a sense of observant presence is what can deliver us from anxiety and stress within the context of transitions.

So, whether you’re like me or not, I wish you a mindful June…a month when more than ever, you might just benefit from carving out some intention time dedicated to tuning back in YOU!

#kindsight101 #smallactbigimpact

How to Build Trust in Hostile Environments

Building Trust in Hostile Environments

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

A friend of mine, who works in a factory-type workplace, took it upon herself to be a little innovative. She realized that the 2-component job she was doing was inefficient. Everytime she attached the fabric to the frame of a piece of furniture she was making, she was losing time picking up and putting down different tools. So, she decided to batch her work. She’d build 10 items, then switch tools and continue the second component of the job. She shaved minutes off the process and felt very successful. Except, a company like this values automation, rule-following, and process over innovation and creativity. The floor supervisor walked by her station and immediately lost his mind on her. What was she thinking going outside of the confines of the pre-determined process? He went straight to his supervisor, who then reprimanded my friend. Finally, after lunch, the issue was brought up once more in front of the other employees, stating weakly that they didn’t want to “single anybody out.” Right…My friend felt the eyes of her disapproving coworkers watching her throughout the meeting and felt flushed with shame.

When we think of the way we deal with students and the manner in which they often deviate from the processes we establish in our classrooms, how do we respond? Does that response contribute to or sabotage an environment of trust and creativity?

Dr. Darryl Stickel is a consultant who works with world-renowned organizations to develop trust. In fact, his favourite work is building trust in hostile environments.

He outlined some key rules that any leader can use to foster a sense of trust and three key qualities that foster trustworthiness.

Every leader has three levers at their disposal that enable trust within the organization. Here are the qualities and the questions you can ask to evaluate whether you are using these qualities as effectively as possible:

  1. Ability – Are you capable in your job? Do people trust in your abilities to get the job done?
  2. Benevolence – Do you have people’s best interests in mind and do they believe it? Do you think about the needs of the people you serve or do you think first of advancing your own mission and goals?
  3. Integrity – Does your behaviour reflect the values you hold dear? Are your actions consistent with your beliefs? Do you follow through on your promises?

Trust is the willingness to make yourself vulnerable to another party when you could choose to do otherwise and when you cannot be certain that they will act in your best interests.

People often base trust off of the balance between perceived uncertainty (How likely am I to be harmed?) and perceived vulnerability (How badly will it hurt?). If you can decrease the risk in both of these areas for the people you serve, the higher the trust will be in your organization, school, or classroom.

When I think about my friend, her trust in the organization for which she works is rock bottom. How can you increase the trust people have in you? Start asking some of those important questions.

 

E 62 How to Build Award Winning School Culture (With Hans Appel)

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https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/kindsight-101/id1412489005?mt=2

How do you build a culture at school that truly reflects values rooted in belonging, kindness, and celebrating the innovative capabilities and individualism of each student?

In this episode, we talk about going beyond the limits of the 21-century model of education to create school cultures that value the individual and celebrate kindness. You’ll learn specific strategies that can positively shift your school culture and actionable tips for encouraging excellence.

Hans Appel is a counselor at Enterprise Middle School in Washington State, which just recently won the 2018 Whole Child Award for Washington State, the 2018 Global Class Act Award for Kindness, and is now a finalist for the PBIS Film Festival for a video on their award winning culture. Hans is also a blogger, supervises a student-led podcast and loves all things kindness in creating positive school culture.

You’ll learn the three questions every staff should be asking themselves to align themselves to their culture.

You can find Hans on awardwinningculture.com or by seeking him out on social media.

How to Recalibrate After a Crash

 

How to Recalibrate After a Crash.

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What do you do when you’ve hit rock bottom? Everyone goes through transformative, life-altering events that have the power to change the trajectory of your life forever. How you respond to the hardships is what determines your character. Whether you’ve suffered a loss, received a devastating diagnosis, experienced divorce, or gone through challenges that have pushed you to the brink of your sanity, we all need a roadmap to help us find our footing after a big crash.

I recently spoke to the amazing ultra-marathoner and pro-athlete, Janelle Morrison about her journey recovering from a car crash that left her body broken. By the way, she recovered to race again. She now has a newfound sense of self-compassion and a rejuvenated appreciation for life. She offered a simple approach that anyone can take when faced with difficult times and I wanted to share it with you.

Here are three questions to ask yourself that will transform your journey and help you to bounce forward, embracing the new you!

  1. What’s the opportunity within the challenge? Within every hardship is the opportunity for growth, self-learning, and transformation. The faster you are able to lean into the gifts of the experience, the less pain and resistance you’ll feel during the experience. Easy to say? Sure. Although it’s hard to practice this thinking, it truly is the key to freedom.
  2. So what, now what? What are you going to do now? What (micro) action can you take to propel yourself forward?
  3. Finally, ask yourself: Who am I? What do I need right now? You heart always knows. When you can quiet your thoughts and the “shoulds,” clarity comes more readily.

My hope is that you incorporate it within your work as an educator for your own benefit, but also for the benefit of your students.

 

 

Three Steps to Resilience

The Three Keys to Resilience

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Photo by Yugal Srivastava on Pexels.com

I’ve often wondered what the difference is between those who are able to bounce forward from adversity versus those who get bogged down by their challenges. I recently stumbled upon the work of Martin Seligman, the “grandfather” of positive psychology. He states that there are three keys to resilience (that can be taught) that contribute to a more positive outlook on life.

  1. Personalization “It’s all my fault” – Someone who encounters difficult times may tell themselves the story that they are to blame for the hardships they endure. Resilient individuals tend to recognize that challenges are part of life and not their fault. Do you often find that you blame yourself for the hard knocks? What if you depersonalized your struggle?
  2. Permanence “I will always feel this way. Things will never change”- Despair is the belief that things will always be the way they are. Hope is the belief that there will be a better tomorrow. When you believe that your circumstances can change, you develop a more resilient mindset. Tell yourself: “This is temporary. This will not last forever. I can get through this tough period.”
  3. Pervasiveness “Bad luck always happens to me” – Pervasiveness in the context of resilience is the belief that bad luck will permeate every corner of your life and that you are predestined to be a victim to it. What if you challenged the notion that challenges permeate every aspect of your existence by seeking out the good. Gratitude practice is a great way to counter the negative effects of adversity. What’s good right now?

 

When You Lose Your Work…

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I’d like to wager that

every.

single.

person.

has likely experienced the bone-chill that accompanies the realization that the one thing into which you’ve been diligently pouring your blood, sweat, and tears…has vanished.

Forever.

Sometimes, all it takes is a single, fateful moment to undo hours, days, weeks, months, or even years of work, to delete precious and irreplaceable memories, or for achingly important items to go missing.

For example:

  • The near-complete set of report card comments you spend days crafting…poof.
  • Your computer crashes and important documents…gone.
  • The passport you need to board the plane back home… still sitting on the small round coffee table adjacent to the room service menu.
  • The one-of-a-kind baby photos you’ve been meaning to transfer from your phone to your computer…only a distant memory after a clumsy juggling act at your front door.

You get the picture…well, actually not any more.

Too soon?

In moments like those, my breath catches and my chest tightens, skin bristling with kinetic potential fueled by adrenaline. Frozen in time, I can sense the ever-quickening shallowness of my inhalations.

Have you ever mindfully noticed how your body reacts when it’s in panic mode?

It’s fascinatingly similar in likeness to your body being remotely occupied like a desktop computer by some tech assistant from a faraway land, who speaks an unrecognizable language, and keeps instructing you to do things you feel incapable of doing.

In other words, it’s easy to feel completely out of control.

In rapid succession, within the space of one week, three fairly-devastating events took place, delivering me to the very brink of my patience, and if I’m really honest, my sanity.

1. Just yesterday, while in the process of attempting to relocate and move my classroom resources after an extended parenthood leave, it dawned on me that due to a communication error more than 75% of my boxes had completely disappeared. Permanently. (Deep, deep freakin’ breath.)

2. Last week, after having had one of the most incredibly rewarding, gold-mine podcast interviews with a very VIP guest, my computer glitched, the software we were using to stage and record the call crashed unexpectedly and with it went the full hour-and-a-half interview. (Cue panicked hyperventilation.)

3. And, finally, yesterday morning, no sooner had the coffee touched my sleep-deprived lips, did I hear: “Moooooommmmmmyyy!”  To my horror, I discovered one of my blessed angels with ball-point-pen in hand and devious grin on face. There, laying face-up on our couch was the defaced page of Daniel Pink’s freshly-minted library-edition book I had meaning to dig into. (ARGH!!! Seriously, people?) The irony was not lost on me when upon closer inspection, the joyous scribbling had been contained to the opening page of the book, a quote:

 “Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” -Miles Davis

 

Was it a sign? Perhaps. With the intention of purchasing the book, I ripped the page out with purpose, and taped the quote to my fridge. Thank you, Miles Davis for the timely reminder of what truly matters in this world.

Although I may have lost some really important, seemingly irreplaceable items in short succession, the really important things in life will always remain intact.

These moments provide opportunities for deep practice in patience, letting go of our attachment to things, forgiveness (of self and others), adaptability, or at the very least, resisting the temptation to unleash unrelenting fury on the world.

Nestled within the struggle of ‘opportunities’ is the ability to rebuild a foundation that is even stronger than before.

Epilogue:

  1. Due to the generous nature of my podcast guest (and some reconfiguring of technical equipment), I was able to reschedule and rerecord the interview. I’d like to say that it was even better than the first.
  2. Those lost boxes enable me to enter a more minimalist approach to teaching, one I had always been meaning to adopt, anyway. No day like the present, I guess.
  3. In a way, I’m grateful for the quote. It was worth the $30 to be reminded to stay present in the now. It’s all we really ever have.

 

Power of Moments

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What makes for a powerful, memorable moment, in school or otherwise? Naturally, we all seek to be memorable. Nobody dreams of living an unremarkable life. We all want to be special to somebody. Some of us seek accolades from the masses, while others seek to be important to just a select few. That’s part of what makes us all so unique. We can all agree that there are magic moments that permeate our lives, but the tricky thing is creating magic, memorable moments for those we seek to serve. How do we make ourselves and the experiences we offer those around us, remarkable enough to make an indelible mark on our souls?

I recently read the incredible book The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath, which outlined an easy-to-follow framework for creating remarkable memories.

Here’s the framework:

E: Elevate – Rise above the every day

Rise above the every day by marking transitions in special ways (100th day of school, 50th book read), building peaks, sensory appeal, raising the stake, and creating an element of surprise for the people you seek to serve.

P: Pride – Build in a sense of buy-in and pride

Celebrate those who have worked hard to achieve their goals! Help them to see their growth. Help them to develop affiliations with you and your tribe. The #1 reasons people leave their jobs is a lack of recognition. Break tasks into small and measurable goals…celebrate every milestone. Always be appreciating and noticing people…but know whether they want the recognition to be quiet or public (that’s important to note, especially with kids). The tribe’s win is everybody’s win!

I: Insight – Help people to learn about themselves in a supportive environment 

We tend to want to protect people from risk, but discomfort is where growth lies.

High standards + Assurance + Direction + Support = Insight

C: Connection

When we share our positive and negative moments together, lifting one another up and celebrating one another’s successes, it solidifies the bonds we have in a group. We feel tied to one another on a neuro-chemical level.

 

How might you apply these four pillars to create powerful moments for those you serve?