Wednesday, 29 December 2010

RTNews 114

RT® News

A magazine on Neuro Linguistic Programming in Education
No 114 December 29 2010

Hello teachers,

2010 is now all but over and we look forward to the New Year. As we always say, the summer holidays are an important space for us teachers to recharge our batteries, relax and pamper ourselves. This is even more essential in these days of change when we need all our energy and skills to face the challenges of the classroom and enjoy the journeys of learning and discovery that our students and we ourselves are embarked on.

As a resolution for the New Year we want to project postive thoughts and outcomes. By being proactive in the way we view life and situations in our schools, homes and other places we inhabit, we can have a tremendous influence. Instead of buying someone else’s view of things, it is very functional to CHOOSE how we view each situation and to KNOW that this choice also extends to how we react to any given situation.

We will be considering various functional ways of interpreting our work and the way we interact with others during the next few months.

If you would like to JOIN us for our February trainings, be sure to check RT Week 2011 in part two below. We have some great new workshops, which will give you ideas and inspiration for the new academic year.

We would also like to THANK everyone who has given their support to us this year, whether it be by attending our courses, or participating in our online spaces such as our Facebook page, or in our blogs.

Finally we take this opportunity to wish you, our readers,



Until next time,

Laura and Jamie


1. A Focus on Solutions

One of the first things we learn with NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is that each of us perceives the world in different ways. A different way or different ways? Different ways. Each of us has more than one way to perceive the world. An obvious example is when we view the world as a parent, a teacher or as someone’s child. We can take these three positions at the same time but each one is subtly different and will influence what we notice and give importance to.

In NLP talk, these are called “Frames”. It is as if we change the picture when we put a different frame around the basic painting. These frames mean that certain things get more emphasis, some features are given a special highlight and other things fall outside the frame. You already know that we use our sensory channels to give and receive information in the world. Some people use their visual channel most, other prefer their auditory channel and others their kinaesthetic channel. This is an example of a frame. If I am very visual I tend to give priority to what I see whereas what people say or what I feel may get less attention.

Other examples of the same sort of limit we put on our processing of the world include: our use of mainly positive or negative language (imperatives, affirmatives, positive modals vs don’t, can’t, mustn’t, negative terms), the types of values and beliefs we follow in life (eg, abundance vs. scarcity), the metaphors we use (life is a struggle vs. life is a fairground), the stories we have constructed about the world and the role we play in them.

Becoming aware of the frames that we or others use is just the same as noticing the news about our favourite film star, or in the case of language teachers, always perceiving the grammar mistake. It is something that we have programmed ourselves to become aware of. Before we were teachers or before our star became famous we never thought about these issues but as our interest grew our brain began to act like a sensor and started to “flash or beep” each time it came across something related to them.

Once we start to identify the frames others use we can acknowledge them and thereby start to enter into rapport with that person and to understand what is happening to him or her. We can also identify our own favourite frames, keep those that are useful to us and change those that no longer serve us. And we can help others to notice that there we can always choose different options in the way we view the world.

A useful practice is to notice what sort of frames work for other people in different contexts and if we like them, we can borrow them. In some societies, a focus on solutions takes a higher priority than in others and it is this approach that we would like to comment on today. A focus on solutions means that whenever we are confronted by a problem or something that does not entirely work or fit, we automatically programme ourselves to find a solution so that both we and others can resolve the problem happily and to our mutual satisfaction wherever possible.

A solutions focus means that we are proactive and rather than waiting for someone to come along and find an answer, we start to work out that answer for ourselves.

When we think about applying a solutions frame to our work in education, this has several implications. It means that we orientate ourselves to finding what will serve or work to overcome a problem. It does not mean that we focus on what doesn’t work but rather try to use models of what does work and apply them to our new situation. If our students are restless and need a stretch, why not give them some Brain Gym or a stretching session or a run outside even if it is not traditionally accepted in the school. If it helps them to concentrate and learn, then surely that is what teaching is about? Many people become stuck in a sort of blame game or a finding fault cycle when things go wrong and they heap example of failure upon example of failure, shortcoming upon shortcoming and reason upon reason. This is all very well as perhaps the problem does have causes that do not originate with us. But the point is that while we sit and gripe the problem remains…. unsolved.

Often times we wait for the authorities, for the famous “they” to come to the rescue and solve the mess “they’ve got us in”. And sometimes we end up waiting a long time. It is far more rewarding to say, “This is the way things are, this is what we want …let’s find a way of bridging that gap”. We often see that teachers in poor schools or rural schools are tremendously resourceful in finding ways to give their students the best lessons possible even though they have very few tools and elements at their disposal. They are almost obliged to work with a solutions frame. If there is no power, how can we do an activity that requires light or electricity? If we have no books or paper, what can we use instead? In more established schools that sort of flexibility may not exist as we take for granted so much more. By training ourselves to find solutions, we start to think outside the box and enhance our creativity leading to answers that perhaps nobody considered or imagined. (This topic features in the last of the RT Week workshops “Outside the Box” on Thursday 10 February at 14.00 in which we look at applying this to the classroom). Developing this skill also means we get to become a good model for our students who learn that they too can solve problems effectively.

A solutions focus is more than just having a plan B or being good at improvising.

It involves:

a) Knowing where we are at the present

b) Knowing where we want to go or what we want to achieve

c) Ascertaining what tools and resources we have to help us

d) Being open and creative so as to generate a variety of feasible alternatives

e) Letting our creative mind flow uninterrupted

f) Knowing who will be affected by our actions

g) Keeping in mind the greater good

h) Making sure that everyone wins and that nobody loses

i) Being able to work out how to put our dream ideas into practice

j) Doing it

k) Being able to assess how our solution worked

l) Trustiing ourselves, others and the universe!

Most of this is a question of practice and being prepared to have a try and see how things work out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

With the comments on many aspects of education becoming increasingly frustrated and pessimistic these days, surely it is time to apply a solutions focus even more to help make the transition from a conventional means of educating students to one that really serves each and every one of them.

© Resourceful Teaching 2010

4. Calendar of Activities 2011
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.
Feb 7-10 2011 RT Week 2011, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Feb 7-12 2011 Curso en PNL, Buenos Aires, Argentina


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.

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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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