Focusing on the solution!


Summer of 2015. Greek businesses are witnessing multiple blows on many fronts.

One could definitely say the same about students, parents as well as our colleagues in the field of Education.

Within this context of recess, I sometimes wonder how much time we must spend on pinpointing mistakes, slip-ups and the history of an issue; from politics, to our fiscal system to the usual “irrational” (always objectively speaking!) behaviour of parents, careless employers, employees or students.

When we look at things through the problem scope, we create negative feelings within ourselves which we sometimes bring into the classroom, into our professional communication and our everyday negotiations whether big or small.

We want to be excellent teachers for our students, effective yet understanding; we strive to have fruitful parent-teacher meetings where we are supportive and show we have the students’ best interest in mind; as employers or employees we reinforce respect and cooperation with a view to promoting a healthy and successful working environment.

A basic condition in order for the above to be fulfilled is flexibility, ability to research and acceptance of  alternatives as well as respect for another person’s universe, as is stated in one of the fundamentals of  NeuroLinguistic Programming (NLP).

NLP focuses on human behaviour, the interdependence of the human brain with the human body, the use of language as a means of decoding our world, as well as the human capacity to create “behavioural automations”, in other words habits which facilitate us to learn more, faster. All these are our tools which we use in our everyday communication with others and, let us not forget, with ourselves.

A brief analysis into how the human brain works, will allow us to understand how each person’s conscious mind is born using our mechanisms that contribute to this procedure. Via teaching, communicating and negotiating, we as educators, businessmen and people can:

  1. Prepare the terrain – as well as ourselves – before each important meeting or negotiation,
  2. Drive our personal focus and the conversation towards a context of resolving issues that need our attention,
  3. Diffuse tension and turn it into productive conversation,
  4. Concentrate more readily on factors that helped us during a conversation and show ability to better take advantage of them in the future,
  5. Support our students into finding solutions to difficulties,
  6. Create a lesson environment that depends on teaming up towards specified goals and results,
  7. Promote a stance that encourages positive negotiation and communication amongst all members whether part of the teaching staff, the administration staff or the management team.

and as a result,

  1. embrace flexibility and expand our array of choice both on a professional and on a personal level.

Think of the small but miraculous word “YET”.

A student may be in the frame of mind where she believes that she “will never learn the difference in use of the Simple Present vs the Present Continuous”. As if that weren’t enough, a bad result on a quiz confirms her belief and begins to affect her overall progress.

  • We can in this case, “dress” this unproductive impression by stating:
    “You cannot understand it, YET”.
    We thus open a window of opportunity to the future and refer to other instances/issues which the student did not use to know, or did not grasp at once, but now fully understands!

A mother may approach you and state that she is “ not at all happy with …’s progress”. This could be due to our teaching, she may consider her child to be lazy or she could be accusing a former educational facility and looking for a change.

  • First of all, our responsibility is to acknowledge that she has her child’s best interest in mind – as do we – and we also know that progress is a target that needs meticulous planning and patience. We could respond by saying:
    “we understand that you are not satisfied with …’s progress YET…”
    and then focus on steps already taken until that point in time, as well as a suggestion for the future.

A colleague may express complaints about the necessity of improving certain areas.

  • By restating that these issues have not been overcome YET, we can in fact mention that it is a good timing to creatively find new solutions to the problems so that they become less troublesome or even cease to exist.

Finally, we may have confused ourselves into believing that some things cannot change and we “cannot do anything about it”.

  • Try this for yourself by saying:
    “I cannot do/manage/obtain…”
    and fill in the gap with one of your own experiences.
    Then say or think:
    “I cannot do/manage/obtain  … YET”.
    How does it feel?
    Has a window of new opportunity opened for you?
    Do you think you could devote time into materialising the YET?

Now there’s a solution to one of the many issues we come across every day!

“There is no failure, there is only feedback” is one more of the presuppositions of NLP, meaning that from now onwards, we are responsible for building the future by taking into consideration our experience, our environment and the circumstances within it.

Whatever the future may hold, and whatever the circumstances, be it an “easy” or a “disruptive” class, “cool” or “demanding” parents, “a-joy-to-work-with” or “difficult” colleagues, WE are always key to how we manage and deal with situations.

Using cognitive techniques, we can maximise our students’ success, the quality of our relationships with customers and colleagues, and our choices and solutions that contribute to our lives as professionals, educators, civilians and people.

Starting now! Summer of 2015!

The EQnomics® Team

Mr. Nikolas Theodorou
Mrs. Ismene Karathanassi-Theodorou

(During our interactive talk “Targeting Communication and Negotiation”, which will take place at the International Publishers Exhibition Athens and International Publishers Exhibition Thesaloniki, we will be presenting ways with which one can promote effective communication in the context and business of foreign language teaching)

This article first appeared in Greek on the Linguaglobe website here.

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