December 31, 2016 at 9:09 am #72406Dr. Anson ChenMember
In recent years, many teachers in Hong Kong have been working under great pressure. Majority are facing loads of school tasks, too much content need to be taught and insufficient time to teach, marking assignments, tests and examination, busy arranging extra-curricular activities for students. So throughout each day, they seldom smile, laugh or have time for a chat.
Wonder how we may help convince teachers or school management team to free some space for injecting humour and laughters to their working environment in 2007?!
Gratefully looking forward to hearing more ideas and suggestions……
December 31, 2016 at 3:57 pm #72442LeAnn NickelsenGuest
I can’t wait to read all of the ideas from your question/post. I agree, the amount of stress in schools these days is high and challenging. I believe that stress is the one of the biggest laughter-busters in buildings. I highly recommend reading Dr. Kelly McGonigal’s book (2015), The Upside of Stress, or listen to her TED Talk about stress becoming our friend. They will help educators understand that how we think about our stress affects our overall health. So, our mindset about our stressful situations could actually help us become more healthy.
Summary of her research of three groups of people.
Group 1 – Those who led low-stress lives
Group 2 – Those who led high-stress lives but did NOT think the stress was bad for them. Rather believed that stress could help them become a stronger, more resilient person who could help others in their times of distress.
These two groups had almost identical mortality rates, with the high stress, positive mindset group having a little bit better mortality rate than the low-stress group.
Group 3 – Those who had high stress with a belief that it’s harmful and might kill them. This group had a 43% higher risk of dying.
Conclusion: Attitudes and belief systems about the stress appear to be more significant than the actual stressors themselves. By changing your thoughts about stress, you can change your body’s response to this stress.
Connection: By changing our perspective about our stressors, we could actually enjoy life more and live it more abundantly according to her research. Maybe we can even laugh more about our stressors – well, not always…
Read her book to find out the many ways to change our mindsets about the stressors in our life. This book transformed my thinking about my stressors. I just need to remind myself daily to use my tools!!!! Happy New Year!
January 2, 2017 at 11:11 am #72511AnonymousInactive
What a great recommendation by LeAnn with the book and TED talk – it is definitely about changing the mindset.
It is a universal problem—not one limited to Hong Kong. As an administrator in a high-performing district in the middle of the United States, we have pressure and stressors to stay on top of our game and ahead of the pack. Our district also has patrons who have high expectations of the public school system. Those factors push us to be the best that we can be. That sense of urgency can create the same type of atmosphere you are describing.
A question I might ask is, who are the decision makers? The “we” makes some difference. As a consultant, you may be wanting to give district leaders some ideas of what others have done. Here is the path that we have somewhat taken, and it is what I often recommend to districts who pose the same question to me.
3 Prong Approach suggestion:
Leaders – district, building, and teacher leaders need to understand the organizational barriers to the change process. There are many great resources out, but one that I recommend as a great business management and organizational change book is by authors Chip Heath & Dan Heath (2010), Switch: How to change things when change is hard. They use great research and write in a very antidotal manner. Major points of the book have to do with understanding the change you asking, motivators, and environments of change.
Relationships – Focus on what is important through all of the change – relationships. There are so many great resources out on the importance of relationships. In our district we have strategically chosen student / teacher relationships as one of the cornerstones of professional learning for the 2015-16 – 17 school years. The stressors associated with change can make us more reactionary and forget the basic need of relationships (leaders to teachers / teachers to students). We have purposefully given teachers resources and strategies that emphasize developing status and deepening relationships.
Sense of control – The third component that we have tried to enhance throughout the district is a sense of control. This needs to be at the teacher level with voice and choice as well as the student level. The more that administrators model pushing decision-making and input within the problem-solving process to the lowest level, the greater the sense of agency within the teachers and students. A resource that we have been using for a book study among administrators is Make Learning Personal: The what, who, WOW, where, and why, by Bray and McClaskey (2015). It is not the end-all of resources on agency, but it has given us some great starting places for conversations and combining other supplementary materials. Administrators have used the information to provide small bites of professional learning for teachers during staff meetings, communicate to parents/community, and do some side-by-side coaching with teachers who were ready for the next level.
I look forward to reading others’ suggestions. Good luck to you!
December 28, 2017 at 7:22 pm #82225Dr. Anson ChenMember
3 more days to go and we shall be entering 2018, within the last year have we been able to Laugh a bit more or make someone laugh with a good sense of humor?
In fact, Humor and Laughter is an area where I myself lack since entering adulthood. Hence it’s one of my goals to explore further and keep growing to develop a sense of humor, finding humor, appreciating humor as well as spreading humor. So here wishing to share some of my findings of which I have also published in our institute on this topic and hope that in 2018, we all laugh more, have more fun in another 366 days journey.
Advantages of laughing:
● Lower blood pressure
● Relax your brain
● Increase memory and learning
● improve your alertness, creativity, and memory
Laughter and humour is Healthy for the Brain !!!
So let’s laugh and below are two jokes and a quiz question, let me know if they make you laugh.
When my wife starts to sing I always go out and do some garden work so our neighbors can see there’s no domestics violence going on.
An elementary school teacher sends this note to all parents on the first day of school.
“If you promise not to believe everything your child says happens at school, I will promise not to believe everything your child says happens at home.
What is owned by you but mostly used by others? (Make a guess and share your answer with me, see if we have the same thoughts for a laugh??)
Wishing everybody a “Joyful 2018″…… ^0^
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