An exercise drawing on NLP


It has been suggested in NLP that we can look at ourselves in relation to a particular issue from five different points of view:

This describes our role in a particular situation. Who we are.

This describes the beliefs and values we have that relate to the situation. Why we do what we do.

This describes the skills and strategies we use in that situation. How we do what we do.

This describes what we do in that situation. What we do.

This describes where and when we do what we do.

This model can be useful in that it helps us as teachers reflect on our teaching from a number of angles that we might otherwise not consider. When using the model it is often best to work from ENVIRONMENT up to IDENTITY - which we often describe using a metaphor - and the back again to ENVIRONMENT.

Have a look at the example below which is based on a class I gave last year that I wasn't that happy with.I thought it might have been down to my preparation. So, I asked myself the following questions to get to the root of what had gone wrong:

Where did I prepare the class? (Environment) In my office
When did I prepare it? (Environment) On Wednesday afternoon around 4pm.
What did I prepare? (Behaviour) A language focus and case study preparation exercise straight from the textbook.
How did I prepare? (Capability) I typed out one feedback sheet and wrote out quickly the exercises and page references. It was definitely rushed and I didn't use any supplementary ideas as I normally would.
Why did I prepare what I prepared? (Belief) Quick, easy. Didn't need to worry about it. Done before. Thought it would be a romp.
Who was I as I was preparing? (Identity) Very much the supervisor with no time to prepare properly. Very self-centred.
What metaphor would I use for myself while preparing? (Identity) A March Hare
Take this metaphor back to belief.
What would I add? (Belief) Even the March Hare needs to slow down and take stock. Could have taken a couple of minutes for a carrot to feed the students. It would have worked out a lot quicker and less painful in the end.
How would that taking stock have affected how I planned? (Capability) Allowed me to add a few gems like moving pairs even if I didn't change the material.
What would the carrot and gems mean for what I planned? (Behaviour) More consideration of the students. More movement early on a Saturday morning.
Where and when would you plan if you wanted to get rid of the March Hare? (Environment) Probably still on the Wednesday afternoon but try to get a flow on from the Wednesday class so there is less to prepare. Not in my office.

This example has used just a couple of questions maximum at each stage, but the number of questions is virtually limitless. I often try and use one 'Wh' question at each stage and really probe my thoughts and beliefs about what I was doing at a given stage of a lesson and why.

Try it yourself. It's a powerful tool.