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Positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones.

Just ten minutes. A live online presentation. Why for me should it be such a big deal?

I said to my wife that I have not problems delivering other people’s words (acting) and I have no trouble writing words for others to speak (speech writer, script writer), but what I loathe and struggle with is delivering my own words on any kind of platform.

Big fails on this count, emotionally at least would include:

  • My grandfather’s funeral
  • My groom’s wedding speech (I was pants at proposing too)
  • My father’s funeral
  • My mother’s funeral

Because it matters to me far too much when, and only when, the words that I give seem to emanate from my soul.

Let me blog, let me write letters, let me smoulder from my ears into the atmosphere with no expectation of feedback.

Both positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones. Why is it that I crave confrontation, that I want to be mentally smacked around the head, then kicked up the arse and sent back into the fray to deliver some amazing show of ability?

We are all so, so, so very different, yet how we are taught, or expected to learn seems so very contrived, so set by context and numerous parameters.

I would prefer to be stuck in a cabin for a couple of weeks with an educator who hasn’t a clue about the subject, but is a natural educator, than someone who has ticked a collection of boxes in order to obtain their position. The natural educator can teach anything. The subject matter expert thinks they know everything.

eLearning can be the subject matter expect – ‘IT’ (literally) thinks it knows it all.

So, connect me, and for me connect students and educators – worry only about the desire and ability to teach or transmit and mange those hungry to gain knowledge, and for students concentrate almost entirely on motivation. If they want to learn pores will open up in their skull so that you can pour in the information and they’ll never be satiated.

Reflection on learning (A personal take)

I am undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. For the last 18 months, initially every two weeks and now every month I see a therapist. I pay for this myself as the NHS could only offer 20 minutes every six weeks and said I was just ‘a bit depressed,’ – ‘like most people.’

Five years ago I was temporarily diagnosed A.D.H.D.

This was turned on its head by specialists in London who couldn’t distract me and found that as the tasks I was giving to do got harder my concentration improved. Ritlan had been fun. My problem was boredom. Always has been. Whenever there is a family gathering should we discuss the first words of various nieces and nephews, let alone the adults, one of my siblings or my mother will say my first word was ‘why?’ and my first phrase was ‘I’m bored.’

I’m still bored and I’m still asking why. I was 49 last week.

I think too much. Rather than thinking less, please can someone put me in a situation where I can think until my brain hurts.

A best moment for me, outside the exam room … a TV programme than was going to go live in 90 mins. The MD pulls the entire theme and my producer looks at me and says let’s do something new from scratch. It was that or waste the expense of presenters, camera crews (live, multi-camera, galley staff, support staff etc: etcsmile No rewrites, no rehearsals, that script was handed out with minutes to go. Unprepared the interviewees were fresh. it worked. I’m good at doing ‘from the top of my head.’

By reflecting on how I behave in certain situations, coming to understand the situations and my upbringing I am changing some of my behaviour – much of the time. This ‘reflection’ has at times been recorded, transcribed and chewed over – just like this. More often I treat the moment, the hour for what it is> I do wonder if I dwelt on it more often, whent back over these discussions if I would embed the change?

My late father when in his mid-twenty to mid-thirties ( I am told and believe) would spend an hour or so with his mother coming home. (That or he was having an affair – more likely?) Something of a matriarch my grand-mother, I could imagine this regular reflection facilitating and guiding my father’s success. Reflection or dictation, being told what to do or coming to yor own decisions? I wonder. It’s value, doubtful beyond building a substantial PLC. In terms of his relationships (catastrophic he went through four marriages). I was staying with him as marriage three collapsed. He was attending Relate. He enjoyed these sessions, admitted he was probably mad and came out of these sessions rationalising who he was without any intention of changing. It gave him an excuse.

If any component of this was reflection, then it was reflection reinforced a modus operandi, rather than changing it.

Wherein lies my issue with reflection and blogging. Is it necessarily something that results in change, or even something for the better?

Didn’t Hitler write Mien Kampf while gaoled? This is narcissistic, self-indulgent reflection that gave him the opportunity to develop self-belief in his warped ideas.

See, reflection can back-fire, bringing the worst out of people, not necessarily the best.

The desired outcome of reflection as a form of thinking in an academic context is to help embed ideas and facts.

It is an aid to a neurological process, by using the information in a variety of ways it comes to matter more, priorities are made, choices taken, you form you own view of what matters and what does not. However, you share this reflection and immediately it is being written for an audience; you reflect and submit this as evidence in an assignment and the first thing you do is to check the requirements of the paper, and how it will be marked and then you adjust, edit and as a consequence contort the truth that reflection should try to uncover.

If reflection has worked then I can see a need to return to live or as-live TV. I thrive on pressure – head pressure.

Once was web-based training, then became cyberlearning – currently it’s e-learning (not eLearning, certainly not e.learning and can’t be elearning) Should be just learning?

Web-Based Training (WBT) (2000)

Margaret Driscoll

I bought this book in 2001. Nearly a decade on I am delighted how apt it remains, even if the term may now have been superseded by e-learning – while cyberlearning had currency for a few years too and before this we had ‘interactive learning’.

Even a decade on I recommend the book.

Training and learning are in different camps, one supposing a component of applied engagement (health and safety, fixing photocopiers, burying uranium trioxide, driving a delivery van, making cars, selling phones, employee induction) while the other is essentially cognitive (though with its physicality in this kind of prestidigitization).

Yet we made ‘training programmes’ on things like cognitive behavioural therapy. Corporate and government clients had the money to do these things.

Driscoll’s definition of WBT is somewhat longer than Weller’s definition (2007) of e-learning (electronically enhanced learning with a large component of engagement on the Internet). A bit ‘wishy-washy’ my exacting Geography A’ Level teacher would have said.

Hardly a clear definition if it has a let out clause. But when was anything clear about what e-learning is or is not, or should be? The term remains a pig in a poke; its most redeeming factor being that it is a word, not a sentence, and fits that cluster of words that includes e-mail.

Web-based training Driscoll (2000) says should be:

  • Interactive
  • Non-linear
  • Easy to use graphic interface
  • Structured lessons
  • Effective use of multimedia
  • Attention to educational details
  • Attention to technical details
  • Learner control

I like that. I can apply it in 2011. I did.

I was reading ‘Web-Based Training’ (and using the accompanying CD-rom) in 2001 and then active in the development of learning, or knowledge distribution and communication websites for the NHS, FT Knowledge … and best of all, Ragdoll, the home of Pob, Rosie and Jim, Teletubbies and the addictive pleasures of ‘The Night Garden.’

We may call ourselves students, mature students even, or simply post-graduates, but would we call ourselves ‘Adult Learners.’

It’s never a way I would have defined my clients, or rather their audiences/colleagues, when developing learning materials for them in the 1980s and 1990s. Too often they were defined as ‘stakeholders,’ just as well I saw them as people and wrote scripts per-the-script, as if for only one person.

That worked, producing for an umbrella term does not.

Adult Learning doesn’t conjure up innovative e-learning, perhaps because of the connotations Adult Learning has in relation to the catalogue of F.E. courses then comes through the door every July or August.

This definition of an ‘adult learner’ would apply to everyone doing an OU course surely?

The special characteristics of adult learners Driscoll (2000:14)

  • Have real-life experience
  • Prefer problem-centred learning
  • Are continuous learners
  • Have varied learning styles
  • Have responsibilities beyond the training situation
  • Expect learning to be meaningful
  • Prefer to manage their own learning

With some of these definitions baring more weight than others, don’t you think?

REFERENCE

And additional references used by Driscoll but not cited above:

References (Adult Learning)

  • Knowles (1994) Andragogy in action. Applying modern principles of adult learning.
  • Brookfield (1991) Understanding and facilitating adult learning
  • Cross (1992) Adults as learns: increasing participation and facilitating learning.
  • Freire (1970) A cultural action for freedom
  • Merriam and Caffarella (1991) Learning in adulthood
  • Kidd (1973) How adults learn

 

Value judgments, CBT, BPD and blogging

As a child my late father labelled me as making too many ‘value judgments.’ It may have stuck. He was equally emphatic about the spelling of judgment, and the correct use of apostrophes.

This tendency to have an emotional response over the objective could compromise how I judge the work of others.

  • Being aware of this ought to help me to form opinions based on facts.
  • Having some understanding of child psychology I also know that labels stick.
  • ‘Money burns a hole in your pocket’
  • I was told (age six, or seven) and so I became this person … or I had confirmation of who I was.

All this I am trying to change.

Tangentially to all of this, eight months of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that was first mooted in 2005, is gradually adjusting my thinking and responses. My habit is to speak first, then think later. The same applies to what I write, particularly in a blog, an environment in which I have written, as I please, when I please and how I please for a decade. CBT ought to be turning off the negative, making me less prone to lash out; so far, so good. Where I am conscious I still fail is the willingness to agree with everyone & say ‘yes’ to everything in order to please. Later I begin to regret the view I had taken or the decision I had taken. Too phrases I need to use often are, ‘let me give that some thought …’ or ‘that’s interesting, let me get back to you …’

I know that there are many kinds and forms of blog.

As ‘entities’ I wonder even if a ‘blog’ is a suitable term where this space has many different uses & expectations imposed on it. Online Journal, E.Text book, e.notes … or the term I used, even registering the domain name in 2000 ‘The Contents of my Brain’ or ‘TCMB.’ i.e. in goes everything, a decade ago with no readily available function to ‘expose’ all or to ‘share’ with a define audience or readership.

Where in lies the next issue. If a blog, like a log or a journal or a diary is written for and by one author then by its nature it is likely to be more honest if kept locked and private. As I know, a blog, like a diary, becomes a very different thing once it is published or in the case of the Internet, ‘out there.’ Think of Anais Nin and her Journals.

Blogs are not what they used to be.

In 1998 those who blogged might have been shipwrecked travellers on a small island – it didn’t take long to suss each other out. Some wrote for the sake of it, others had something to say … one or two were innovators, and creatives, HTML wizards who constantly played with the possible and what was then impossible.

Mummy has come along and made us put our toys away

Many would so this depth of ‘reflection’ is counter-productive. Others argued that a degree of ‘exposure’ is required in order to establish connectivity with like minds and the curious.

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