Saturday, 3 April 2010

New Issue of RT News!

RT® News

A magazine on Neuro Linguistic Programming in Education

No 109 April 3 2010

Hello Everyone,

We hope you are enjoying the Easter break whether you stayed at home or had the opportunity to travel.

Our academic year is now in full swing in this part of the world and this brings us the delights and challenges of our work on a day-to-day basis. In our people-based profession we are in a perfect position to observe, experiment, innovate and adapt as we discover ways to help our students or solve the situations that inevitably arise in our work. In our increasingly interconnected world, there are answers to whatever issue we have both out there and within ourselves. It is up to us to activate that knowledge or seek out the information that will get us the answer that can work for us.

A reminder that we begin our Practitioner course for 2010-2011 this month. This course leads to the Practitioner Certificate in NLP for Education. The course in English starts on April 10 and is held once monthly on Saturdays. Please see below for more details. We will also be running a version of the course in Spanish on Fridays, twice monthly in the evenings beginning on April 23. If you are interested please let us know at

Thank you for reading and sharing,

Laura and Jamie

1. Teaching, Learning and Gardening

2. Classroom Contracts - a further reflection

3. Practitioner Course 2010

4. Calendar of activities for 2010

5. Workshops and coaching

6. Subscribing/Unsubscribing to our e-zines in English and Spanish and an invitation to visit

1. Teaching, Learning and Gardening

The word “to garden” is not very helpfully defined in many dictionaries. They tend to stick to broad descriptions like “to work in a garden” or to “look after” a garden, which don’t perhaps add that much. We do get “To weed and plant” in one dictionary which narrows things down more. An older work (pre corpus) suggests, “to cultivate or lay out a garden”.

What motivated this search was the curiosity of seeing how close the act of gardening is to that of teaching and learning. When the German Friedrich Fröbel coined ‘kindergarten’ for the pre-school place of learning, he obviously made the connection between the nurturing of plants and that of children, such that he wanted a place close to nature where children could develop through play and interaction. These days we have different metaphoric representations to describe schools, many of which are very distant from nature, so let’s see what the gardener can bring to our thinking about schools.

In a garden, we can sow seeds, plant plants or just let things sprout by themselves. The first two methods are clearly better if you want some order and not a jungle. The third method may see some hardy species thrive but it is also likely to result in a survival of the fittest as a certain few plants dominate the land and air space.

We can choose to grow plants from seed. This requires some foresight and care if we want the seeds to germinate. Too much or too little water, insufficient sun and heat, a frost or some other extreme weather and your seeds don’t even get past first base.

Once germinated, the young seedlings face more challenges. There are the same issues related to climate and weather, of the need to be protected from these excesses but also to have nourishment and encouragement to grow. Now, insects and other garden creatures may be attracted by the young shoots and need to be kept at bay. Sometimes, there are fundamental problems like insufficient space to grow, roots that are too shallow or too many seedlings together.

The sensitive and experienced gardener anticipates all this and ensures that the young plants get the help, the fertilizer, the weeding and so forth that will assist their growth.

As the plant reaches adulthood it may flower or bear fruit. Other actors enter the scene like bees to pollinate the flowers or other insects that keep predators away. Worms help maintain a healthy soil too and the gardener oversees all of this. The plant may have been transplanted to a bigger space or nearer to more compatible plants. Fertilizer, mulch or compost may be given, the plant may be sprayed or pruned when necessary. But mostly, the plant is left to get on with growing which is not just a passive action. Each plant will adapt to its habitat, try to best ensure its survival and well-being, reach for the sunlight (or occasionally the shade) and play its role in the habitat. Garlic, for example, repels certain insects. The gardener accompanies this process with the change of the seasons. Sometimes his/her job is to turn the soil, rake away leaves, prepare ground for new sowing and so forth. Sometimes it is to wait and be observant.

Similarities can be found in the teacher’s work. Many of the duties and descriptions mentioned do remind us of teaching in kindergarten or primary school and many remain relevant throughout the entire education process. Sometimes, with a new course we have the task of helping the seeds to germinate; the skills and abilities that the student must develop. The job of tending and caring for the class is constant just as a garden is never static. It is a task that does get easier with experience and yet is also unpredictable, so we cannot remain complacent that we know all there is to know. No two years and no two groups are alike. New things emerge like a strange blight on the leaves or a sudden swarm of insects and the gardener has to find out how to handle these, asking other gardeners, consulting on internet or visiting the local nursery. A tree falls down leaving a space for a new project like a rockery or a fern walk. How do you transform the space? We go to get some advice on what to do. Then technology brings us new tools, new plants (hybrids), alternative methods and we decide to try these. And some years we have the joy of bumper crops or glorious blooms that gladden our hearts, just as the survival of a weak plant and transformation of it into a healthy adult can do.

That is why people garden. It keeps us in pace with nature, it keeps us alive and feeling vital. It is also one of the reasons why we teach as well. To feel we are playing a part in the nurturing of something magical, to watch the blooming of students under our care, to help a person become a fulfilled human being. Let’s keep ourselves up-to-date, in touch with what is new and what is going on with our profession and constantly reflecting on what we do so that in each of our gardens we can take the right decisions to help our students blossom. And let’s give thanks that we are members of one of the most satisfying and noble professions.

© Resourceful Teaching 2010

2. Classroom Contracts – a further reflection

Our article on classroom contracts produced some interesting comments from various readers, including those who enthusiastically implement such a system to those who find alternative ways to manage their classroom.

We agree that some limits have to be set by the school or the teacher. What is happening now however is, that in some schools, these limits are not being supported by many of ‘the players’, namely the students, their parents and even sometimes other staff. This reflects a general approach in many societies that such rules or codes of conduct are not necessarily to apply to everyone and that exceptions can and should be made. The result is often a conflict or misunderstanding as to the rights and responsibilities of those involved and a sense that individual priorities are overrunning the greater good of the school or the class.

While there are undoubtedly some fixed elements that cannot be negotiated like basic school rules or national laws, the idea of classroom contracts is to allow for some agreement by all parties on those areas which do leave scope for flexibility. This permits the students, for example, to feel that they have some participation in the decisions made in the class and it acknowledges the existence of the psychological contracts we mentioned last time, that are present whether we like it or not. One of the challenges these days is that on the one hand the power of one party to impose rules is lessened, while at the same time we cannot assume that the others will act according to ‘adult’ reasoning or fair play. In some cases, the value of education itself is now viewed differently by those involved and unless this is discussed openly, the clash of beliefs, values and behaviour can easily arise.

As one of our correspondents put it, it all boils down to a question of common sense and to treating and valuing our students as individuals and if we are guided by these factors we are surely on the right track.

© Resourceful Teaching 2010

3. Practitioner Course 2010

Learn skills and techniques to help you to …

… Be more effective in the classroom!

…Understand your learners more completely

… Set and achieve goals

… Better manage the constant changes school life brings us

… Communicate with others with elegance and effectiveness

… Discover more talents

… Live the life you want to lead

All this and very much more can be experienced on the

Practitioner Certificate in NLP for Education

Our next Practitioner Certificate course starts on April 10 and consists of 16 modules to be held on Saturdays on a monthly basis in 2010 and 2011. This first level of training involves between 130 and 150 hours of direct training in the form of practical activities and guided practice. It gives students acquaintance with the methodology and many of the techniques comprising NLP and leads to an internationally recognised certificate as Practitioner of NLP in Education.

The Practitioner certificate with Resourceful Teaching offers you the chance to get an NLP certification and practise your English at the same time!

For a course syllabus and further details see our website: or send a mail to or

Venue: Versailles, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires

Time: One Saturday per month 9.00 – 17.00

Start Date: Saturday April 10

Investment: 260 pesos per module

The course includes written material and a full bibliography and morning and afternoon refreshments. As much as we encourage reading, the real value of NLP is the putting it into practice and our students have constant opportunities to employ what they learn in their daily work and lives.

To enroll, please contact us for an enrolment form. Your place is guaranteed upon payment of the first module.

Laura Szmuch and Jamie Duncan

NB: This course will also be offered in Spanish on Friday evenings from April 23. If you are interested, contact Laura at for more details.

4. Calendar of Activities 2010

We are publishing below a list of the main events for Resourceful Teaching for the next few months. As each date gets closer we will give you more information and we will of course be updating the calendar with new dates as they arise.

April 10 2010 New Practitioner course in English begins

April 23 2010 New Practitioner course in Spanish begins

May 8 Laura in Formosa

5. Workshops and Coaching

If you would like a workshop or training in your city or town, please contact us soon as we have only a few dates available on weekends each year.

We can offer you workshops as listed in the website or design something especially for your needs. In English and in Spanish. Please contact or if you are interested.

Laura is also available for Coaching. If you wish to advance in your career or personal life and wish to design a plan of action to do so, why not have a coaching conversation with her. Contact:

6. Subscribing/Unsubscribing to our e-zines in English and Spanish and an invitation to visit

To subscribe simply send a mail to: with your name and city stating 'subscribe' in the subject box. To unsubscribe, follow the same procedure but write the word 'unsubscribe'. We only send this e-magazine to those who have expressed the desire to subscribe by the above means.

To subscribe to the Spanish sister e-zine, send a mail to Laura at

NB En contacto has different articles from those which appear in RT News and they are about NLP and other associated areas.

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