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What is NLP?
A brief history of neuro-linguistic programming... and the importance of VAKOG

Isabella Hearn
Teacher Line. Número 6. Curso 1998-1999. Alhambra-Longman

(Extret del web del col·legi Erain del País Basc: http://www.erain.es)


Why are some people brilliant at what they do? What is "the difference that makes the difference"? This is what two academics from California, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, were asking themselves back in seventies.

They were particularly interested in the outstanding professional performance of three people: Fritz Perls, the psychotherapist behind the Gestalt school of therapy; Virginia Satir, an extraordinary family therapist, and Milton Erickson, a well known and successful hypnotherapist. How did these three achieve their excellence and would it be possible to learn to do the same by observing their strategies? It appeared that there was much in common in the way these three people worked, but none of them was aware that they were in fact using specific patterns of behaviour.

Bandler and Grinder set about analysing and investigating the possibility of modelling the strategies in order to then apply them to other situations and other fields, and bring about the same outstanding results.

Although the work originatd in the field of psychotherapy, it is since gone beyond that, and today, NLP techniques are used in areas such as marketing, ales, police work and education.

NLP is the study of Excellence.

NLP is about effective communication

NLP is about how the mind works, how we think, act and behave.

But fundamentally NLP, opens ys to the possibility of CHOICES that can enrich our teaching, and our learning and our lives.

VAKOG... and its effect in the classroom

One of the beliefs which is at the core of NLP is that "the map is not the territory". We all have different "maps" of the world, and see things in different ways. We all use a combination of the five representational systems, that is, visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, olfatory and gustatory. (The last two refer to our sense of smell and taste and tend to be less dominant).

In many cases it is possible to detect a preference in a studen'ts learning style quite easily. Sometimes it is not so obvious, and we may have to do some investigating to find out how a particular student is recieving information.

Our learners with a VISUAL preference react well to pictures and diagrams and on the whole have few problems with reading and writing. They are often good spellers, as they can memorise by pictures, and to access this visual information they will look upwards. In their language they would include phrases such us "I see what you mean" and "the future looks bright". These tend to be observant and organised students and fortunate in that our educational system works in their favour. The rest of the class may find it useful to model some of their learning strategies and practice being "more visual".

It is important to note that it is possible to improve skills in any area and we need not feel that we are "fixed" with a predominant learning (or teaching) style which may not be allowing us to get the best results in every situation. It would be all too easy to be able to say "no, sorry, I don't dance, you see I'm visual!" If you don't dance it's probably because you don't want it.

The learners with an AUDITORY preference are happiest using their ears, so they will enjoy listening task ans cassettes, and will often find it helpful to repeat things to themselves. Theyenjoy discussions and reading aloud. In their sppeech you may well find phrases such as "that rings a bell", or "it was music to my ears". For accessing auditory information the eyes tend to move to the left or to the right towards the ears. The learner with an auditory preference will sometimes move their lips while reading, and talk while writing.

The larner with a KINAESTHETIC preference is often the one who is easiest to spot in the classroom. He can't keep still. He learns by doing, by feelling and touching and moving around, and is the one most often seen punished in the corridor. Our primary schools are quite kind to the more kinaesthetic learners, but after that it's a different story. From secondary school upwards the system does not allow for students to move and use their bodies and the kinasthetic learner is often at a severe disadvantage. This student will use language such us "I'll be in touch" and "I feel it in my bones", and the eyes tend to go downwards to the left and right for accessing information.

So, as teachers are we reaching ALL our students? Are we adapting our own preferred style of teaching to give our class a balanced set of activities which enable them ALL to learn and to move forward? Are all our lessons MULTISENSORY?

Once we are aware and respectful of the different learning styles that our students have, it is easier to create a relationship of rapport and harmony, which is so important if real progress is to be made. The reponsibility we have goes way beyond irregular past tense verbs: we can make a difference in how the students feel about themselves, which will spill over into areas outside the classroom. NLP techniques can help to provide an enviroment which forms the basis for learning and makes it natural and effective and takes away the stress that is too often synonymous with teaching.

In my own case, I know that I don't always succeed, but I am motivated by another NLP belief: "Failure is a renewed opportunity for success". Do our students know that?


Darrera Actualització: 20.10.2004