Process, Result and Positive Thinking

by Zhenya


Those of you who love running will enjoy the whole article on Runners World; for those of you who don’t, I just wanted to share a couple quotes and thoughts today.

Quote 1: If you focus on results (not the process), you take yourself out of the now, and it’s the now that allows for the results later.”

The author describes her marathon training: in order to finish in 3.30 hours, she had to run each mile for 8 minutes or 8:08.

Quote 2 (conversation with her coach)

“In a race, what do you think when you hit 7:45?”
“I worry that I will die.”
“I doubt I’ll reach my goal.”
“Notice they’re both negative?”

What really surprised me was the similarity of what I often hear from teachers after they taught their observed lesson: A was good, yes, but let’s skip it talk about my mistakes in B instead; perhaps X was a good activity but task Y made all the students quiet; yes, I achieved two of my objectives, but not the third one I had planned; if I had more time I would have done this and this, etc. I sometimes ask if they enjoyed teaching the lesson (a hard question for many!) I am wondering if really worrying about the result, outcome, goal turns us teachers away from the process of learning and being with students ‘here and now‘?

Getting back to thinking about marathon training (the last quote, I promise!)

“Why not look at numbers as feedback?” the coach said. “7:45—oh, I’m on today. I better pull back a bit. 8:15—good. Just a little more.”

Reframing is key. When you seek to find the positive, information becomes useful. What did 8:08s tell me? That marathon pace would require more effort. This was good to know.

 And jumping into the classroom again: were the students more quiet here? Perhaps they needed more time. Aha, two of them started taking notes. Good to know (will do it for the next group of this level!)

How do you balance between the process and result of teaching? What else do you do to train yourself to think positively in class and outside?