April 27, 2012

Balancing Time Perspectives

In solution-focused conversations people's attention is subtly focused in the directions of 1) a positive future (through preferred future questions which help to develop clear pictures of how one hopes things will become), 2) positive aspects of the present (through platform questions which help get a a clear picture of what is already there and of what is working well), and 3) positive past (through exception seeking questions and past success questions which help get a clear picture of when things were already going well.

My Solution-Focused Fields of Attention framework which is used in this video shows how, often, during solution-focused conversations the focusof attention gradually and subtly shifts from talking negatively about past to talking positively about past, present, and future.

There is some new research which suggests to me that this process of going back and forth between past, present, and future in solution-focused conversations is actually a good idea. Ryan Howell and his colleagues have done a study which demonstrates that having a balanced time perspective can make people feel more vital, more grateful, and more satisfied with their lives. He says that we should not accentuate either one of the three perspectives (past, present, or future) but, instead, develop the cognitive flexibility to switch between those perspectives.

April 22, 2012

A Practical Approach for Realizing Desired Behavior in Your Organization

In our progress-focused organizational change training course which was held this week we offered the participants a model which they found useful. It is a model which is an adaptation of the so-called Theory of Planned Behavior by Ajzen (1988, 1991) and a modification of that model by Reeve and Assor (2011) which I, again, changed slightly.


This figure show how the model assumes desired behavior will happen when individuals are autonomously motivated for the desired behavior. There are three requirements for this autonomous intention:

April 17, 2012

Follow Your Interests Not Your Talents

On the website Artistic8.com there is this picture. I like the advice! I think that talents are a bit overrated, nowadays. Interests, on the other hand, are extremely powerful. As Ed Deci and Richard Ryan and their colleagues have demonstrated, people are intrinsically motivated when they do activities that interest them, that provide them spontaneous pleasure or enjoyment and do not require external rewards. When intrinsically motivated, people are engrossed in the activity, and they are not easily distracted. The initiative is theirs and they persist for long periods. Furthermore, when we are intrinsically motivated we learn better at the conceptual level.

Another interesting things is that interest never has to dry up. It continuously develops and changes in surprising ways and directions. This is so because, as we acquire knowledge, new questions and curiosity emerge. Also, a great advantage of focusing on things we find really interesting it is that is easier and more pleasurable to persist doing them. The work of Anders Ericsson and colleagues has shown how important continued deliberate practice for becoming really good at something. I think this continued practice can only be accomplished when we have a great interest in the activity. Carol Dweck may have said it best when she wrote: "We all have interests that can blossom into abilities."

April 16, 2012

The Heroic Imagination Project: learning individuals to take heroic action during critical moments

I came across The Heroic Imagination Project (HIP), a nonprofit organization that teaches people how to overcome the natural human tendency to watch and wait in moments of crisis and to create meaningful and lasting change in their lives. HIP translates the research findings of Dr. Philip Zimbardo into meaningful insights that individuals can use in their everyday lives to transform negative situations and create positive change. HIP's mission is to encourage and empower individuals to take heroic action during critical moments, and to successfully initiate positive change in their own lives as well as that of their community and society as a whole.

April 10, 2012

Communicating a growth mindset in education

The previous post mentions the success of Finland's education system. Briefly, it tells about how Finland's educational system is extremely successful while not focusing at all on standardized testing and creating a competitive learning environment. In the US these two practices, among other control measures, are used intensively and the US educational system has shown a steady decline in effectiveness. Carol Dweck has now written this brief article about this topic: Is “Accountability” Undermining American Education? In it she argues that the fact that the Finnish educational system communicates a growth mindset is probably the main key to its success. She also says that the US system which emphasizes evaluation and testing creates a fixed mindset which impairs learning.

April 1, 2012

Finland's Revolutionary Education System

Study Habits, Skills, and Attitudes

Study Habits, Skills, and Attitudes. The Third Pillar Supporting Collegiate Academic Performance
Marcus Credé and Nathan R. Kuncel

ABSTRACT—Study habit, skill, and attitude inventories and constructs were found to rival standardized tests and previous grades as predictors of academic performance, yielding substantial incremental validity in predicting academic performance. This meta-analysis (N=72,431, k=344) examines the construct validity and predictive validity of 10 study skill constructs for college students. We found that study skill inventories and constructs are largely independent of both high school grades and scores on standardized admissions tests but moderately related to various personality constructs; these results are inconsistent with previous theories. Study motivation and study skills exhibit the strongest relationships with both grade point average and grades in individual classes. Academic specific anxiety was found to be an important negative predictor of performance. In addition, significant variation in the validity of specific inventories is shown. Scores on traditional study habit and attitude inventories are the most predictive of performance, whereas scores on inventories based on the popular depth-of-processing perspective are shown to be least predictive of the examined criteria. Overall, study habit and skill measures improve prediction of academic performance more than any other noncognitive individual difference variable examined to date and should be regarded as the third pillar of academic success.

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