Matthew Wingett looks at one of the ways that NLP has been used to make a big difference in education.
In the summer of 2006, Kate Benson, International Director of Education for the Society of NLP, ran a pilot project with staff from four schools in the UK's County Durham, in order to explore the potential of using NLP in the classroom. This is a brief account of the structure of the course, and the outcome experienced after one of the assistants who attended applied her new learnings to a pupil who had previously expressed no interest in reading, and came with a statement of special needs.
Four schools were included in the Durham Project, each being asked to take part in this ground-breaking study because of their previous commitment to developing new and innovative ways of enabling and facilitating their pupils’ learning.
Each school nominated about five members of staff, teachers and teaching assistants, who would be willing to learn some new skills and undertake a small-scale research project about the impact of those skills on the children in their care.
None of the people involved had any prior experience of NLP. The four-day programme was arranged in three separate parts:
1) on the first two days, staff learned some basic NLP, and designed their research
2) they then had three weeks to undertake the research and prepare their report
3) on the first morning of the second two days they reported on their findings, and during the rest of the time learned some more NLP skills.
The results revealed how a small amount of time and training could seriously improve the attitude and learning ability of children in the class, while also positively affecting the teacher, making him or her a far more effective communicator. Here is one case study from Kate Benson's full report:
Helen Keay: Reading Can Be Fun!
Helen Keay worked at Framwellgate School, providing SEN Learning Support to kids. Her primary focus was on a pupil with a statement of special educational needs. The pupil, a year 6 (10 years old) girl, had reading difficulties, and no interest in learning to read.
The girl did show an interest and ability in both science and numeracy - but her progress in these areas was considerably restricted because of her reading difficulties. She was in fact dependent on another individual to verbalise the written text for her.
During her NLP training days Helen Keay discovered many opportunities for help and suggestions for ideas for possible projects. The NLP forum feedback and support given over the following weeks was helpful, and Helen also received help and support from other members of staff. The school's Head Teacher also attended the NLP course.
Helen Keay defined the aims of her project as being to:
- find a more effective and positive approach to reading with pupils throughout the school and
- implement a more consistent approach, enabling pupils to learn and enjoy
"This will enable those children to develop stronger reading."
Her plan was to work for 3 weeks on an individual reading programme based on the year 6 pupil’s stage and interests.
Here is her account of how she implement the project:
"I withdrew the pupil from the class to work in a small room used as a story room for nursery age pupils. The room was decorated with the nursery children’s paintings of zoo animals. Comfortable rocking chairs, and music to aid accelerated learning, pupils’ own choice, playing in the background, created a relaxed atmosphere. The pupil remarked how it was ;just like home.'
"I implemented this for 15 minutes on a morning and 15 minutes on an afternoon for 3 weeks over a 4 week period due to a holiday week being one of these weeks. I used the Oxford Fuzz Buzz reading scheme introduced to the pupil in September 2005. These books are enjoyed by a large number of pupils throughout the class.
"The annual assessment, carried out in May 2006 using the Salford reading test, gave the pupil’s reading age as 5:7 years. After the 4 weeks the assessment was repeated, and the pupil’s reading age had increased to 6:10 years.
"The pupil’s interest in reading had also increased dramatically and is now at the stage where the pupil is asking to read."
Helen Keay sums up her findings from the project as follows:
"The results from the project have proved to me that children learn differently in different settings.
"Employing new strategies has been beneficial to me, giving me a greater awareness of the environment in which children learn and its impact on the learning achieved.
"The result from this reading project has been shared throughout the school.
"I feel I will be able to continue using this strategy throughout the school with all pupils showing reading difficulties. This will enable those children to develop stronger reading."
The thing that is impressive about this and the many other stories of how NLP improved the teacher's effectiveness in the classroom, and the children's success, is how quickly these changes were achieved. There are many more such studies to be found in the impressive report Kate Benson prepared on the project. The report can be found at http://www.meta4education.com/. Just click the tab labelled The Durham Project on the left hand side of the page. It's worth visiting the website from time to time because Kate Benson assures us more case studies of different types of students and pupils who have benefitted from NLP will appear soon.
For more information about how NLP can be used in the classroom, visit Kate Benson's site: http://www.meta4education.com/ . A pdf download is available from site.
About Kate Benson and META
KATE BENSON founded META in 1999 to run programmes at the leading edge of NLP. She works closely with Dr Richard Bandler promoting his work. Kate is the International Director of Education for the Society of NLP and a Licenced Master Trainer of NLP and is an internationally recognised trainer in the Education Sector. As a Director of Matrix she has worked for the past 13 years developing and delivering a wide range of courses focusing on supporting learning and learners. Just some of her specialisms include: livening up learning and raising achievement, dealing with challenging behaviour, NLP, and support for students and staff.
What Richard Bandler says about Kate Benson:
"Kate Benson is an expert in applying NLP in the education sector. She is thoroughly organised, highly skilled and the love for what she teaches comes across in her presentations. I guarantee you will have a thoroughly enjoyable experience."
Kate will be appearing at the February Practice Meeting of the NLP Master Class in London, on Thursday 4th February 2010. For further information, please go to: www.nlpmasterclass.co.uk