Interested in NLP in education? So over the last few days I have written on the uses of NLP in Sport, Coaching and Business and today I would like to explore how some knowledge of NLP can be used so effectively in education.
I remember a school teacher who came on one of our NLP Practitioner courses and, at the end of the week, was so excited about what she had learned, she promised to implement as much as she could into the way she presented her lessons in the future. About 6 months later I got an email from her listing everything that she had changed and implemented. The email ended with the statement, and I quote, “it’s amazing! ADHD has disappeared out of my classroom!!” (ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
So how had she used NLP in education?
1. She had re-organised her classroom so that the whiteboard (in my day they were blackboards and are now probably some kind of interactive computerised screen) was in the ‘correct place for the majority of the students being able to recall the information. This would be in the front left corner as the students look at the teacher. This is to do with eye patterns and the fact that 95% of people are what we deem to be normally organised and that their upper left hand quadrant of their eye patterns relates to visual recall. (This is a long subject for a blog so I am just giving the overview). Screens in the centre of the classroom will confuse the unconscious mind AND the students will be focussed on the screen and not the teacher!
2. She understood that the basis of all communication is rapport. So by utilising some NLP presentation skills she ensured that she did her utmost to be in rapport with all the students.
3. She took on board that all learning, behaviour and change is done at the unconscious level so ‘trying’ to only teach the students ‘conscious’ mind (the conventional way) could be greatly improved by teaching their unconscious mind at the same time. So, utilising her knowledge of NLP she utilised specifically designed metaphors (not out of a book) at the beginning and end of the classes. These metaphors had 2 purposes. One was to feed in the desired message of the class at the unconscious level and the second was to relax the students by inducing an element of trance which opens up the trap door to the unconscious mind. Now, I know people will say she was hypnotising her students and those will be people who do not understand what trance actually is. If you are sitting in front of a TV, or reading a book, or driving a car – you are in trance. Trance is a state of altered consciousness which could be described as relaxation and allows the unconscious mind of the listener to open up. No barriers. So trance is a normal state – a state everyone experiences during the day.
4. She constructed and formatted her lessons according to something called the 4 Mat system that actually did not originally come from the world of NLP – it came from someone called Bernice McCarthy who was researching how people learn. Some people have a preference for the ‘why they should learn/listen’, some the ‘what it is’, some the ‘how it works’ and some the ‘what if I did it’. In the world of NLP we have found that any presentation or lesson structured in this system pulls in the whole audience and not just some of them. Most lessons/presentations are a mish-mash of all of these things with no particular structure leading to confusion for the listener. She paid particular attention to the “why” section too. This is the section of a lesson that ‘sells’ it. This is the bit that creates relevance to the listener. No-one will listen if they do not feel a subject is relevant to them.
5. She found out whether her students were visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or auditory digital learners and structured her language when speaking to each of the students accordingly.
6. Her knowledge of language that she had learned on her NLP course allowed her to begin to understand what was behind the ‘talk’ of the students. It gave her additional questioning skills to uncover problems and then to solve the problems.
7. She worked with the poor spellers in her class using the NLP spelling strategy. This is a simple way of installing a visual spelling strategy for a person. The problem that poor spellers have is that they try and spell words as they sound (phonetic spelling will lead to about 50% of the words being spelt incorrectly) or how they feel (which will lead to most words being spelt incorrectly). As per normal, when this process is used with poor spellers (those who have been labelled with dyslexia) the results are tremendous with the recipient going from being a poor speller to a great speller in 3 months (15 minutes a day).
8. She stopped labelling children. Labels are not useful. Telling a child that he or she is dyslexic or is ADHD affects the child’s self-esteem and belief system and, they will take on those behaviours.
9. She focussed on always telling the children what to do as opposed to what not to do. This is because the unconscious mind (remember this runs behaviour) is not very good at processing negatives. For example if a child is ‘day dreaming’ (ie in trance) and you shout “don’t run across the road” the likelihood is that they will run across the road. Their unconscious mind deletes the negative. If you want fast results with people you can use this! Stop telling them what not to do and start telling them what to do.
10. She recognised that classrooms may have set up a bad anchor for some students. An anchor is the process of stimulus response. For example, from previous experience, a child might see a classroom and immediately get a bad feeling. The teacher worked with those students who she felt had set up bad anchors unconsciously, and using the process of collapse anchoring from NLP helped them remove the negative anchor.
This person was exceptional. She took her learnings from her NLP class and acted on each one and, consequently got amazing results.
Why is there not more use of NLP in Education?
Why isn’t a knowledge of NLP in education not made available to all teachers? I think the simple answer is money! Learning NLP not only takes an investment of money but also time and the question is whether schools are willing to invest both. The interesting fact is that most teachers who come on our courses fund themselves and for that, I admire them.
If you want to take your teachings to a different level maybe you too should consider our NLP Practitioner course.