A number of years ago, I discovered positive psychology. After researching for just a month or so, I decided I would try to apply some concepts in my high school classroom. Specifically, I was interested in how positivity could affect student performance (in terms of grade %), so I created something I call "Positive Priming."
Basically, "Positive Priming" is intentionally trying to activate positive emotions in students at the beginning of class. It can take as little as 10 seconds, but most of my positive priming activities are around 2 minutes. (I'll create a separate post about the details of positive priming in the future, but for now, I'll just share that I simply wanted to put students in a positive state.) From a research-based standpoint, being in a positive state as opposed to a negative or neutral state enhances multiple things including engagement, creativity, and ability to learn new concepts/strategies/techniques.
I had 5 freshman English classes at the time, so I devised a plan to implement 3 different strategies and assess impact. During first quarter, there was to be "Positive Priming" to establish a baseline. Then, during second quarter, the following Priming Plan would be administered:
After looking at the year-long results, I became curious if it affected any other measurable factors in my students--behavior came to mind beyond grade percentage. My classroom rarely has any behavior issues, but on occasion, I do have to report things to the office. I'd say maybe once or twice a quarter I have had to at least notify the office or document some type of negative behavior. During first and second quarter, I had a few instances involving mild inappropriate behavior. Second semester...zero. In fact, reported negative behavior was much lower in the 9th grade during second semester in all classes. Was it related to the "Positive Priming" and social connection in my class? Maybe...maybe not. But specifically in my class, performance was up and negative behavior was down.
Sounds like a great combo to me!
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