Education Secretary Arne Duncan made what I called his biggest mistake when he supported the L.A. Times publication of teacher ratings.
Yesterday, he performed what I can only call incredible gymnastics in changing his position.
He claims he supported the LA Times publication because it was important for teachers to get that information, and having the Times’ publish it was the only way to get it into their hands.
So he supported the publication to help teachers.
Though now he says other papers should not publish the data.
However, he says it should be made available to parents.
I’ve written a lot about the importance of being positive in the classroom (see My Best Posts On Why It’s Important To Be Positive In Class). And here comes even more research that emphasizes its importance.
The New York Times has just published an article headlined Praise Is Fleeting, But Brickbats We Recall. Though I’d strongly encourage you to read the whole piece, here are some excerpts:
Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones, he said. Thus, we tend to ruminate more about unpleasant events — and use stronger words to describe them — than happy ones…
….Professor Amabile said she found that the negative effect of a setback at work on happiness was more than twice as strong as the positive effect of an event that signaled progress. And the power of a setback to increase frustration is over three times as strong as the power of progress to decrease frustration.
“This applies even to small events,” she said.
If managers or bosses know this, then they should be acutely aware of the impact they have when they fail to recognize the importance to workers of making progress on meaningful work, criticize, take credit for their employees’ work, pass on negative information from on top without filtering and don’t listen when employees try to express grievances.
The answer, then, is not to heap meaningless praise on our employees or, for that matter, our children or friends, but to criticize constructively — and sparingly.
Professor Nass said that most people can take in only one critical comment at a time.
….As Professor Baumeister noted in his study, “Many good events can overcome the psychological effects of a bad one.” In fact, the authors quote a ratio of five goods for every one bad.
That’s a good reminder that we all need to engage in more acts of kindness — toward others and ourselves — to balance out the world.
One suggestion the article makes, which I question is that it’s better to start with criticism and then follow with praise. I wonder how much experience the researchers have had with children — or their parents….
The BBC has created a very, very large infographic titled “How Big Is Our Solar System?” Scroll down (which is a little odd) and it will take you from the surface of earth to the far reaches of space.
It’s similar to a couple of other infographics:
Scroll to see the ocean’s deepest depths is an interactive infographic from The BBC. Scroll down the infographic and it not only shows you information about what is happening at that depth of the ocean, it also provides videos and images. “Our Amazing Planet: Top To Bottom,” is another one, but there’s no interactivity and it also covers above the ocean.