Mind games

I’ve recently had a few sessions with an excellent hypnotist, who has incidentally got me interested in hypnotism and neuro-linguistic programming and their potential (if any) for education, game-based learning and research. I started off extremely sceptical about NLP (basically because of all business-related hype and wild claims) and am now slightly less so.

I was recommended the NLP Workbook by Joseph O’Conner, which seems to be a good overview of NLP. However, it does present a lot of theoretical ideas a fact (for example the chapter on learning) and while many of the ideas seem like common sense there is an overall lack of academic evidence and rigour (not that it makes any claims in that direction).

Despite these reservations, I can’t help wondering if there might be something in it if considered with a critical mind (after all, there is lots of empirical and anecdotal evidence of its efficacy). Some of the questions I’ve been thinking about are:

  • Can computer games induce trance and make us more suggestible? If so, could they be used to alter attitudes and increase motivation for learning? Is this ethical?
  • Could NLP be used to support students in developing ‘soft’ skills such as time management, communication, study skills, goal setting, planning, interpersonal skills? Could this be done online? Can NLP techniques improve online learning in general?
  • How does the NLP idea of different representational system (auditory, visual, kinesthitic) relate to learning styles theories such as the VARK model?
  • Can rapport-building and other NLP techniques help the process of eliciting information during research, for example, in interviews? Is this ethical?

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