Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The what and the why

Over the years I've led a lot of PYP workshops and one model that we used to help teachers understand why our focus is on concepts and not facts is the avocado model.  In this model knowledge is divided into 3:  things that are worth knowing, things that it's important to know and finally the enduring understandings.  I thought about this model again as I was reading about the self-awareness onion.  In this model there are also multiple layers, and as the saying goes, the more you peel them back, the more likely it is you are going to start crying!

The first layer of the self-awareness onion is the what - it's your emotions - what you are feeling right now.  Most of us can identify these, though we do have our blind spots, as growing up we were told that some emotions were inappropriate.  The second layer of the onion is the why - it's our ability to ask why we feel the things we do.  These why questions are often linked with what we regard as success or failure and asking the why questions helps us to understand the cause of the emotion - and only once we understand the root cause then we can do something to change it.  Right in the middle of the onion are our personal values and standards - this is the way we view and judge ourselves and others.  Mark Manson in The Subtle Art ... says that this layer is the most important, because our values determine the nature of our problems, and in turn this determines the quality of our lives.

Reading this through I was also reminded of Dilts' model about our identity, which I learned about in my Cognitive Coaching training.  This goes deeper still than beliefs and values.  Basically the premise of this model, which underpins coaching, is that what we think influences how we behave and that influences the results we get.  Hence the focus of cognitive coaching is on thinking.  I love it when I can make connections between the different things that I'm reading!  In coaching we always recognise the outer layer of the onion - the emotions - when we start to paraphrase.  This lets the coachee know that we are trying to understand and helps to build trust and rapport.  Our paraphrases and questioning may start to illuminate the why.

In Dilts' model, change has to happen at more than one level.  For example if you change the environment or behaviour this may simply be a form of compliance - for sustainable change to be made you have to tap into more than one level.   If you want to change behaviour, you need to focus on capabilities.  If you want capabilities to change, then you need to first focus on beliefs and values.

Back to Mark Manson again.  He writes, "If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value, and/or how you measure failure and success."  He goes on to write about how you need to give up the false gods of pleasure, material success, always being right and always being positive - in fact what we need to do is to confront your problems, rather than avoid them.

The next chapter is about choice.  I've been exploring choice this year with a new focus on agency in the enhanced PYP.  I'm looking forward to reading and sharing this chapter soon.

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