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Aussie Willy
03-27-2012, 02:55 AM
A university here in Melbourne has introduced a policy that demands academics promote positivity and show passion at work.

http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/rmit-academics-really-not-happy-about-having-to-be-happy-at-work-20120326-1vuob.html

Although I did like this quote from the article:


Ms Gale said the code threatened the ability of academic and professional staff to carry out their work. ''We're talking about a university community. People are supposed to be sceptical and questioning. That's their job.''

PDilemma
03-27-2012, 03:15 PM
My last principal was obsessed with everyone being positive. This included not pointing out problems going on in the school. For example, saying that the online gradebook system consistently timed out when teachers attempted to save a set of assignment grades meaning we often had to enter them multiple times before we were able to save them in the system was negative. We were not allowed to talk about that. He actually told us that by talking about it (as we requested that the tech department find out why so it would actually work) we were causing it to continue because "problems are fed by negative words".

As for how this affects teaching? He was in my classroom one day when my senior lit students and I were discussing Macbeth's "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy. I was later reprimanded because the speech is "negative" and I did not tell the students that Macbeth should not speak "negative words" and should actually not teach the speech at all even though the play is part of the curriculum.

milanessa
03-27-2012, 03:27 PM
As for how this affects teaching? He was in my classroom one day when my senior lit students and I were discussing Macbeth's "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy. I was later reprimanded because the speech is "negative" and I did not tell the students that Macbeth should not speak "negative words" and should actually not teach the speech at all even though the play is part of the curriculum.

:rofl:

Wyliefan
03-27-2012, 03:50 PM
My last principal was obsessed with everyone being positive. This included not pointing out problems going on in the school. For example, saying that the online gradebook system consistently timed out when teachers attempted to save a set of assignment grades meaning we often had to enter them multiple times before we were able to save them in the system was negative. We were not allowed to talk about that. He actually told us that by talking about it (as we requested that the tech department find out why so it would actually work) we were causing it to continue because "problems are fed by negative words".

As for how this affects teaching? He was in my classroom one day when my senior lit students and I were discussing Macbeth's "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" soliloquy. I was later reprimanded because the speech is "negative" and I did not tell the students that Macbeth should not speak "negative words" and should actually not teach the speech at all even though the play is part of the curriculum.

That's downright Orwellian. (Though you probably weren't supposed to teach Orwell either.)

Skittl1321
03-27-2012, 04:21 PM
I was later reprimanded because the speech is "negative" and I did not tell the students that Macbeth should not speak "negative words"

Well, look where those negative words got him! If he had been more upbeat- the play may have ended differently!

PDilemma
03-27-2012, 04:47 PM
Well, look where those negative words got him! If he had been more upbeat- the play may have ended differently!

Sure. Because just saying some happy stuff at that point, with the armies coming for him would have changed everything!

This stuff is damaging on so many levels. It is a blame the victim ideology--you are just tired, stressed, ill, dying, unhappy, clinically depressed, abused by your spouse (this principal's positive thinking guru actually explains that the negativity in her thoughts caused her ex-spouse to abuse her and she realized at a woman's shelter that it was all her fault--fortunately for her kids, this did not lead her to go back to him), unemployed, etc...it is all because you are not thinking positive thoughts and acting happy. Grief--which is part of what is going on in Macbeth's soliloquy as he just learned of his wife's death--is just negativity and should not be acknowledged.

It is not an emotionally healthy way to live.

danceronice
03-27-2012, 05:14 PM
And remember, not saying negative thoughts will make the magic pixies in the computer fix the grading software faster! I mean, really that's more disturbing than arguing about teaching Macbeth--so, complaining about an OBJECTIVE TECHNICAL ISSUE is 'negative speech'? If my car's brakes are sticky should I not bring that up with a mechanic because that's negative thinking and therefore contributing to the problem?

There is SOME merit to the argument that a positive outlook will improve your mental state and performance. Not ignoring bad things, but opting to focus on the good rather than dwelling on the bad. But that does not extend to ignoring physical technical malfunctions! How insane do you have to be to think that complaining about a flaw in a software product the affects how you do your job is 'negative' and contributing to the problem? That's not a question of not feeling chipper enough, it's SOMETHING IS NOT WORKING. By that logic, you shouldn't call tech support for anything ever.

PDilemma
03-27-2012, 05:40 PM
And remember, not saying negative thoughts will make the magic pixies in the computer fix the grading software faster! I mean, really that's more disturbing than arguing about teaching Macbeth--so, complaining about an OBJECTIVE TECHNICAL ISSUE is 'negative speech'? If my car's brakes are sticky should I not bring that up with a mechanic because that's negative thinking and therefore contributing to the problem?

There is SOME merit to the argument that a positive outlook will improve your mental state and performance. Not ignoring bad things, but opting to focus on the good rather than dwelling on the bad. But that does not extend to ignoring physical technical malfunctions! How insane do you have to be to think that complaining about a flaw in a software product the affects how you do your job is 'negative' and contributing to the problem? That's not a question of not feeling chipper enough, it's SOMETHING IS NOT WORKING. By that logic, you shouldn't call tech support for anything ever.

It was a great outlet for this principal to NEVER have to deal with a problem. He was able to lock himself in his office and play Madden Football. Literally. And when a custodian told a few people that's what he was doing, he was fired within two days.

Yes, it was a pain in the ass that things not working could not be fixed because no one was allowed to bring those problems up.

But as an educator, I was more disturbed at the messages being sent to kids about how we understand life. At a school assembly, they were told that if they felt picked on, they needed to look at their own attitude about the person or group picking on them. If they were feeling negatively about those people, it was their thoughts that caused the bullying. Not the bullies. I was told that I should have told my students that Macbeth addressing his grief over his wife at all (literally the moment after he was told she was dead) was "dwelling on negativity". The positive thinking guru was brought in to do workshops with the staff twice, the senior class and the football team. Football players were convinced by her that if they believed they would win a state title, that was all it would require. They were beat in an early round of playoffs and devastated. More devastated than teams prior who were upset in title games because they had been convinced by her and the principal (who was the head coach) that thinking it and "truly wanting" it was a guarantee.

Life does not work that way. I wanted to ask the positive thinking woman what top athlete goes to the Olympics firmly believing and telling people (because telling people is part of her formula) that they are going to fail. Or wanting to fail. Because she used athletes over and over again as an example of how wanting something will make it happen. Who really thinks Kwan wanted to miss that jump in SLC or that Browning wanted to walk away with not a single Olympic medal? Does she really believe that athletes enter the rink or the court or the field hoping to fail? If wanting to win the Master's or the World Series or an Olympic Gold Medal was enough, we would have to give out a lot of green jackets, trophies and medals each time.

Skittl1321
03-27-2012, 05:49 PM
But as an educator, I was more disturbed at the messages being sent to kids about how we understand life. At a school assembly, they were told that if they felt picked on, they needed to look at their own attitude about the person or group picking on them. I

That is truly worrisome.

PDilemma
03-27-2012, 06:03 PM
That is truly worrisome.

But it is the logical conclusion of all the positive thinking teaching. If your thoughts determine what happens to you...and so many of the people preaching positive thinking as an ideology teach that they do.

There is nothing wrong with having a good attitude about life. But the notion that doing so will make everything and everyone around you perfect is dangerous. As is the idea that we cannot address or deal with the negative things in the world.

My father is currently, with all his might, refusing to grieve for his younger sister who was killed in a car accident in January. He believes that he doesn't have to and it wouldn't be manly. Trust me, you don't want to even walk by him right now. Because avoiding his negative feelings is not making him happy, it is making him angry and horrible to be around. He's doing it out of misguided notions that real men don't grieve, not that he should be positive. But the end result of burying negative feelings and experiences is the same.

modern_muslimah
03-27-2012, 06:29 PM
But it is the logical conclusion of all the positive thinking teaching. If your thoughts determine what happens to you...and so many of the people preaching positive thinking as an ideology teach that they do.

There is nothing wrong with having a good attitude about life. But the notion that doing so will make everything and everyone around you perfect is dangerous. As is the idea that we cannot address or deal with the negative things in the world.

Hear, hear! I am so sick of the positive thinking movement. It really isn't natural to be happy all the time and sadness serves just as much a purpose as happiness. Plus, I think the effort that some people make into being happy all the time just ends up making them more depressed.

:rofl: at your principal for thinking Shakespeare was too negative.

PDilemma
03-27-2012, 06:38 PM
:rofl: at your principal for thinking Shakespeare was too negative.

As funny as it is, I recently learned that the Bard has been completely scrubbed from their curriculum. Also removed for negativity: The Great Gatsby, My Antonia, Of Mice and Men, The Things We Carried, A Raisin in the Sun, and more.

modern_muslimah
03-27-2012, 06:41 PM
As funny as it is, I recently learned that the Bard has been completely scrubbed from their curriculum. Also removed for negativity: The Great Gatsby, My Antonia, Of Mice and Men, The Things We Carried, A Raisin in the Sun, and more.

*smh* That dude has some serious issues.

skatesindreams
03-27-2012, 06:49 PM
So, if anything "negative"/bad happens; one brought it on themselves?
A ridiculous; and potentially dangerous idea.

PDilemma
03-27-2012, 06:53 PM
*smh* That dude has some serious issues.

He does. He doesn't have a very happy life. And he is looking for easy answers. When it was finally accounted for, it came out that he spent over $20,000 on the positive thinking/motivational/life coach woman in three school semesters. At a private school struggling to make ends meet. Somehow, that unauthorized budget-busting spending did not result in his dismissal. Likely because they have a singular priority which is winning sports teams and he is a winning football coach.

He seems to truly believe that pedaling these ideas is going to set the students up for a fantastic trouble-free life. When a student was killed in a car accident last year, he told the local newspaper that it was an opportunity for the students to realize the power of learning to focus on the good things over the bad. IMHO, that is a horrible message for teenagers grieving the sudden death of a classmate.

Not shockingly, their enrollment has been tanking.

I know this might seem off-topic from the original post. But I don't think it is. Forced positivity has all kinds of scary consequences.