Whale Done!

Whale Done!

I think it’s important that as educators, we aren’t just teaching our subject area, but that we are helping our students become well-rounded individuals, and teaching them more about themselves and how to interact (well) with others. Something I came across, a couple of years ago, is a theory called Whale Done- The Power of Positive Relationships. The concept is that of the way they train the whales at Sea World. They don't ever give negative feedback, the trainers Accentuate the Positive, Build Trust and when mistakes occur they Redirect the Energy.

I use the Whale Done theory in my English 7 classroom. By praising immediately, being specific, sharing positive feelings and encouraging students to keep up the good work, I try hard to make the English classroom somewhere that my students feel comfortable and gain a boost in their self-esteem and confidence. At the beginning of the year, each student gets a small whale and puts their name on it. They then hang out by our Whale Done board in the back of the classroom. Every Friday, students receive praise from me and receive and give praise or “Whale Done’s” to other classmates. Students may receive Whale Done's for a variety of different things. (Those that help around the classroom, do well/improve on writing prompts and class discussion pieces, vocabulary quizzes, etc.)

Who would have guessed that the best way to interact with others could be learned at Sea World? Thats right! The trainers at Sea World do not punish these beautiful creatures for doing the wrong thing they reward the positive things they do instead! The sad thing is people do not often act in this manner with others. We look to criticize, we punish bad behaviors and ignore good ones, and we never look for the positive in others. Focusing on the positive and redirecting when we see the negative is a better way to create strong relationships, in both the classroom, workplace and the home. That is the message in Whale Done! we should remember the next time when another classmate creates an excellent presentation or helps you out inside or outside of school.

A news story on how "Whale Done" was adopted by an elementary school in the Pittsburgh area. See how they made the "Whale Done" philosophy work for them!

"Accentuate the Positive" sung by Johnny Mercer & The Pied Pipers