Process, Result and Positive Thinking


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?

About Zhenya

ELT: teacher educator, trainer coach, reflective practice addict
This entry was posted in Learning Thoughts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Process, Result and Positive Thinking

  1. Josette says:

    What a treat to find your blog! Somehow, you snuck by me. 🙂

    I really enjoyed the metaphor here. It worked very well, and can empathize as runner who is now a walker, and a self-critical human/teacher. It’s so easy (natural?) to jump to the inner critique. But what you offer above is so wonderfully beneficial. If we stay in the zone, we’ll improve. This metaphor goes across the spectrum. How often have I heard that if I could just stay in the moment, away from the stories I create, that I could find happiness?

    What do you think makes teachers jump ahead like this? What challenges do teacher-trainers face in raising this awareness and fostering change? Lots to think about.

    Great post!


    • Zhenya says:

      Josette, thank you for reading and commenting! I totally agree that, as you said, ‘f we stay in the zone, we’ll improve’ – and the trick to me is learning that it is actually a ‘zone’, not just a ‘mark’ we get for something done.
      I like that you are thinking bigger than a classroom here. I like your questions at the end (yes, finding those answers would promote a change more) and I would like to keep thinking in that direction. Once again, thank you for visiting and writing!


  2. Pingback: Time or Distance? | Wednesday Seminars

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