This article examines an approach that stresses positivity, encouraging leaders to look for what is working well and finding ways to extend that to other areas. In this way, negativity and pity parties are avoided and a more dynamic atmosphere is created.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

After more than a year of lockdowns, restricted freedoms, positive developments followed by setbacks and confusing news, people are getting tired and frustrated. This frustration is leading to criticism and disappointment in those who are in leadership positions. On a personal level our dedication and commitment become even more difficult to maintain. As we are continually faced with harsher actions, our morale drops and we have an increasing need for inspirational leadership that can renew our belief that we will emerge victorious in this pandemic struggle.

Without being naïve, we need to see the positive in where we are and how far we have come. This will help to build our strength and affect our outlook. This article provides that advice, suggesting that we build on what is positive and encouraging. After being in this struggle for so long, with changing working conditions and social situations, the students are in need of some positivity. This lesson will use this article about workplace positivity and apply it to the students’ school situation. It will ask them to apply this positivity approach to their personal situation.

Subject Area(s) covered

Social studies, careers, family studies

New Terms to explain

Parkour, empowerment

Materials Needed

Access to the article and a means of communicating with three additional people

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

  • Students will learn that, although we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we react to those events.
  • Our mental outlook has considerable influence over how we live our lives and gives direction to our actions.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Begin the lesson by asking how the students are currently feeling. Are they frustrated about the pandemic situation? Are they coping well? What do they miss? What do they see happening?
  • With this as background, remind them that, although we cannot control everything that happens to us, we can decide how we will react to those events.
  • Remind them that there is an approach that sees every problem as an opportunity – an opportunity to learn, to grow and to develop sense of self-confidence.
  • Hold a short discussion with the class as a whole about empowerment and in that discussion reinforce with them that they have some power – the power to choose how they will react to things and what they will do based on those reactions.
  • At this point, draw their attention to the article and explain how the article suggests to managers and leaders the need to focus on the positive in these challenging times.
  • Allow them time to read the article.
  • Reconvene the class as a whole and have them react to what they have just read.
  • Ask them now to apply this idea to their personal lives and ask them to explain how this approach would change what they are doing.
  • Shift the focus of the discussion and ask them to explain what is meant by the phrase “Pay it forward”.
  • Once they have established that this means to do something proactively – that is, to do something kind for someone else rather than simply accepting or repaying the original good deed – have them consider what acts of kindness people have shown to them. This could include such simple things as meals being prepared for them or favours given.
  • Now assign the following task:
    • Identify three people that you will contact.
    • Think of something positive you would say to each of them that is not a direct result of something they have just done for you
    • Take the time to contact them in whatever way and communicate that idea to them.

Consolidation of Learning

  • Having completed this task, take a moment and right down three things that you are grateful for and think about each of those for a moment.
  • Having done that, consider how you might carry this attitude forward in dealing with the current situation and whatever may come.
  • Remember the old saying that goes, “You can choose the see the glass half empty or half full.”
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

  • The students will see the value in maintaining a positive outlook and realize that that approach will go a long way in helping to handle any future challenges.

Confirming Activities

  • Have the students discuss with one or two of their classmates, without providing personal information, the types of things they mentioned when they completed the brief assignment and how that activity affected them personally.

Helpful Internet Searches

Activities to do together

  • Sit down with your family or contact your friends and discuss why they are important to you and how you can go forward together, making a more enjoyable life for each other.