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  • Irina Ketkin, author of #adventuresofthelearner

The self-fulfilling prophecy

The term self-fulfilling prophecy seems to be creeping up on me lately everywhere I turn. And I find it especially interesting now that the end of the year is fast approaching.

According to Wikipedia ” A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.” So why is this important for LnD professionals?

Ultimately, when a learner walks into your training session, you want that person to take the most out of it. And you can incorporate various techniques and use numerous tools to ensure retention of material. But if that person does not want to learn, he or she will proceed to do so in an orderly fashion. And, fortunately, the opposite it true as well!

So what do you do? In my experience, there are several things that can be done:

  1. Ensure the right environment is set. Where we are and how things around us look matter because they are the things that create that first impression, that snap judgement we all make in a blink of an eye (come one, you know you do it, too!).

  2. Use the right language. A simple example that comes to mind is when talking through the objective of the session. Instead of “If you learn this, you will be able to do that”, say “WHEN you learn this…” That simple change can flip a switch in a person’s mind and change the prophecy we are trying to escape.

  3. Be positive. Ok, I know this is a cliché, and that it has been overused in every single aspect of our lives. But ultimately, you do want to be positive about what you say, and also how you say it. It is similar to the smile phenomenon – if you smile at a stranger, he or she is more likely to smile as well.

​There are probably others that would be unique to each person. What are some of the things you use to change the self-fulfilling prophecy?

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