mentoring by srirammadhav


									A role for imagery in mentoring

                                      Sarah Fletcher
                                      University of Bath, Bath UK

Keywords                                                                                       suggesting future enquiry. I offer
Mentors, Development, Learning         Context                                                 visualization as a possible way to lead
Abstract                              This article draws on the concept of possible            mentees to an understanding of the choices
This article suggests that simple     selves, (Ruvolo and Markus, 1992) and                    and complexities within their new role ±
imagery and visualization             suggests that simple imagery/visualization               enabling them to draw from previous
techniques can be used with the       techniques can be usefully employed within               experiences as their identities metamorphose
mentoring relationship. After
identifying the challenge that
                                      the mentoring relationship between teacher               in a shifting context.
mentors need strategies to            educators and novice teachers. Using                       It is not so much that teachers and
promote mentee development, the       imagery seems to sensitize some novice                     researchers, professionals on the landscape,
article presents a case for using     teachers to the potential of classroom                     need new identities, new stories to live by:
visualization and shows how this
                                      teaching, and appears to enhance their                     they need shifting, changing identities:
strategy has been used in other                                                                  shifting changing stories to live by as the
contexts. Visualization and           ability, for example, to assess pupils'
                                                                                                 parade offers up new possibilities and cancels
imagery is then applied to pre-       progress and to stimulate their imagination
                                                                                                 out others. For we researchers and teacher
service teachers. The article         and thereby maximise their potential as                    educators, our place is not, therefore to
concludes by exploring the            learners. With the burgeoning increase in
potential for the use of                                                                         educate for a fixed landscape and for a fixed
visualization by mentors arguing      school-based teacher training in England,                  identity but rather to educate for shifting
that visualisation could help bring   higher education staff and mentors are                     stories (Connelly and Clandinin, 1999, p. 131).
about self-actualization.             sometimes unaware of effective strategies to
                                      promote their mentees' professional                      First let us consider how to visualize. There
                                      development. Imagery is just such a strategy.            are many similar techniques ± I favour this
                                         The presentation of this article follows an           one.
                                      action research cycle (McNiff, 1994) and this              The following will help you learn a simple
                                      is intended to exemplify the process by which            visualization technique. It is based on the
                                      mentors can seek to improve their work with              work of Simonton et al. (1986).
                                      mentees. First, I identify the challenge,                  Instructions for preparing oneself for,
                                      namely that mentors need effective strategies            undertaking and exiting from visualization
                                      to promote their mentees' development.                    1 Go to a quiet room with soft lighting. Shut
                                      Second, I put forward a possible strategy ± I               the door, sit in a comfortable chair, feet
                                      draw from my own experience and from                        flat on the floor, eyes closed.
                                      others' looking for a way to resolve the                  2 Become aware of your breathing.
                                      challenge ± and alight on the possibility of              3 Take in a few deep breaths, and as you let
                                      using visualization. I investigate how this                 out each breath, mentally say the word,
                                      strategy has been used successfully in other                ``relax.''
                                      contexts ± medicine and sport and then                    4 Concentrate on your face and feel any
                                      reflect on how it has benefitted me before                  tension in the muscles of your face and
                                      applying it to the current problematical area.              around your eyes. Make a mental picture
                                      I use the strategy with my novice teachers ±                of this tensionÐit might be a rope tied in a
                                      whose professional development I need to                    knot or a clenched fistÐand then mentally
                                      further and then evaluate the strategy both                 picture it relaxing and becoming
                                      in terms of gaining feedback from my novices                comfortable, like a limp rubber band.
                                      and by keeping a reflective log. Given the                5 Experience the muscles of your face and
                                      success of the strategy in one context, I see if            eyes becoming relaxed. As they relax, feel
                                      it has other applications in the field of                   a wave of relaxation spreading through
Career Development                    mentoring ± and I invite reflection before                  your body.
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# MCB University Press                The research register for this journal is available at   The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
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                                                                                                                                                            [ 235 ]
Sarah Fletcher                     6 Tense the muscles of your face and around      become aware of their self-system so they can
A role for imagery in mentoring      your eyes, squeezing tightly, then relax       make informed choices before acting. In
Career Development                   them and feel the relaxation spreading         Houston (1982) for example the reader is
International                        through your body.                             exhorted to
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                                   7 More slowly down your body ± jaw, neck,          evoke a Master Teacher (who) will represent
                                     shoulders, back, upper and lower arms,           a symbolic representation of the knowledge
                                     hands, chest, abdomen, thighs, calves,           or artistry of the skill you want to perfect
                                     ankles, feet ± until every part of your body     (Houston, 1982, p. 177).
                                     is more relaxed. For each part of the body,    Similarly in Simonton et al. (1986, p. 198)
                                     mentally picture the tension, then picture       The Inner Guide is a process we teach
                                     the tension melting away, allowing               patients for tapping F F F rich inner resources of
                                     relaxation.                                      healing and strength. For many people the
                                   8 Now picture yourself in pleasant, natural        Inner Guide takes the form of a respected
                                     surrounding; wherever feels comfortable          authority figure ± a wise old man or woman, a
                                     for you. Mentally fill in the details of         doctor, a religious figure ± with whom the
                                     colour, sound, texture.                          patient is able to carry on an internal
                                   9 Give yourself a mental pat on the back for       conversation, asking questions and hearing
                                     participating in your recovery. See              answers that seem to wise beyond the
                                                                                      individual's conscious capacities.
                                     yourself doing this mental imagery
                                     exercise three times a day, staying awake      A plethora of books teach visualization
                                     and alert as you do.                           techniques (including those by Gawain, 1982;
                                  10 Then let the muscles in your eyelids           Markham, 1989; Wills, 1994) as well as
                                     lighten up, become ready to open your          cassettes and self-access training courses. It
                                     eyes, and become aware of the room.            would seem from these that the self-system,
                                  11 Now let your eyes open, and you are ready      which preserves the individual's well-being
                                     to resume your usual activities.               and should inform action, can become
                                  You deserve to feel good about yourself!          distanced from the conscious mind. By
                                                                                    concentrating on ``internal messages'' from
                                                                                    the self-system, an individual can see
                                   Learning relaxation techniques                   alternatives to present courses of action.

                                  According to Hewitt (1978) peace and quiet
                                  are needed for beneficial meditation               Formulating possible selves as a
                                  Simonton et al. (1986) appear to concur and       way of focusing energy on goal
                                  suggest that instructions for the relaxation-     achievement
                                  mental imagery process might usefully be
                                  tape-recorded or read by a friend. A common       Leondari et al.'s (1998) paper sparked off a
                                  problem during mental imagery is the              train of thought in my own mind that led me
                                  tendency for a person's mind to wander. This      back to a time when I recovered from
                                  often represents a lack of concentration,         physical disablement in the 1980s. I learnt
                                  which can be aggravated by certain                techniques that enabled me to construct in
                                  medications, by pain, or fear. From time to       my imagination, and later realise, a future
                                  time it is a problem that affects everyone        self largely freed of the restriction of pain.
                                  using the process regularly. One of the most      They enabled me to prime myself to return to
                                  effective ways for dealing with distraction is    a more mobile and largely pain-free lifestyle.
                                  to stop the process and ask ``Why is my mind      Leondari et al.'s paper reminded me of
                                  wandering?'' then pursue that line of thought     techniques I used and still use to frame
                                  for a short time, perhaps five minutes. Then      possible, positive self-scenarios. Cognitive
                                  focus back on the exercise and go through it      theorists have suggested that individuals can
                                  with whatever success one can attain.             ``direct their attainments by setting
                                                                                    challenging goals for themselves''. Crucially,
                                                                                    the construction of possible selves might
                                   Using relaxation techniques to                   enable realisation of attainment in teacher
                                  access one's self-system                          education. Leondari et al. (1998) define
                                                                                    possible selves as:
                                  The challenge that faces an individual is to
                                                                                      conceptions of the self in future states. They
                                  conjure up a choice of possible selves and          are thought to derive from representations of
                                  actions. This requires some awareness of the        the self in the past and to include
                                  potential of selves within the self-system at       representations of the self in the future. They
                                  any one time. In recent years popular               are considered different and separable from
                                  literature has promoted the idea of self-           the current or now selves but intimately
                                  improvement by encouraging the reader to            connected to them.

[ 236 ]
Sarah Fletcher                    Similarly, Markus and Ruvolo (1989, p. 212)        relaxation. Thus for patients to access their
A role for imagery in mentoring   suggest that ``Most goals occasion the             inner selves they are first taught simple
Career Development                construction of a `possible self' in which one     relaxation techniques to alleviate the stress
International                     is different from the now self and in which        that effectively blocks communication.
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                                  one realizes the goal''. These possible selves       Vealey in Williams (1997) states that:
                                  are ``future orientated components of the self-      Imagery is a mental technique that
                                  system (which) represent individuals ideas of        ``programs'' the human mind to respond as
                                  what they might become''. Others (Bandura,           programmed. All athletes possess the ability
                                                                                       to use imagery to improve their performance.
                                  1988) appear to concur with Markus' opinion
                                                                                       Imagery is not magic. Evidence supports the
                                  that ``imagining one's actions through the
                                                                                       effectiveness of imagery in improving sport
                                  construction of elaborated possible selves           performance, but like physical skill the
                                  achieving the desired goal may thus directly         psychological skill of imagery requires
                                  facilitate the translation of goals into             systematic practice to be effective.
                                  intentions and instrumental actions''.
                                  Possible selves can, or so it seems, be            For my pre-service teachers to use imagery
                                  consciously conjured up in the pursuit of          effectively then, I would need to teach it near
                                  desired goals which can be positively or           the beginning of their course and provide
                                  negatively constituted. The implications of        opportunities for them to practise using it, as
                                  this for initial teacher education for mentors     one would any other acquired skill, on a
                                  and mentees are far-reaching.                      regular basis.
                                     Possible selves are thought to influence the       First, imagery can and should involve all
                                  motivation process in two ways: on the one         the senses. Although imagery is often termed
                                  hand by providing a clear goal to strive for ±     visualization or ``seeing with the mind's eye'',
                                                                                     sight is not the only significant sense. In
                                  if they are positive ± and to avoid if they are
                                                                                     sport, the visual, auditory, olfactory, taste,
                                  negative; on the other hand, by energizing an
                                                                                     tactile and kinesthetic senses are all
                                  individual to pursue the actions necessary
                                                                                     important. Using all appropriate senses may
                                  for attaining a possible self (Markus and
                                                                                     help the athlete create more vivid images.
                                  Ruvolo, 1989). Therefore, Leondari et al.
                                                                                     The more vivid the image, the more effective
                                  claim, possible selves can have a very
                                                                                     it is.
                                  concrete impact on how one initiates and
                                                                                        I began considering visualization as a
                                  structures actions to realize positive possible
                                                                                     possible technique for enhancing the
                                  selves or to prevent negative possible selves
                                                                                     development of novice teachers' skills,
                                  from such realisation. In short, can they
                                                                                     drawing from my own experience of ``seeing''
                                  shape behaviour?
                                                                                     pain diminish. What I had overlooked was
                                                                                     the necessary input of my other sense in
                                                                                     recalling this event. I actually felt the pain
                                   Discussion; using visualization                   subside ± it was a tactile experience as well as
                                  techniques in medicine and in sport                a visual one. If I could encourage my novice
                                  Visualization, according to Simonton et al.        teachers to undergo a recreation or a
                                  (1986) is a process whereby the unconscious        creation of a particular event it would
                                  mind is able to communicate with the               doubtless be more vivid if they could ``image''
                                  conscious. In Western society we are taught        with as many sensory perceptions as possible
                                  to value external events and objects rather        ± and being more vivid because it draws from
                                  than our internal environment. Meditation is       more than one sensory input would probably
                                  an accepted part of Eastern culture but is still   be more effective. This again is an area
                                  frequently viewed with suspicion in the            where considerable research clearly needs to
                                  West. Thus we tend to ignore feelings,             be carried out in future.
                                  dreams and intuitions from our internal self-         Until I considered the use of imagery in
                                  system which can provide us with resources         sport I had not come across ``Symbolic
                                  to meet demands of the external world.             learning theory'' which was first proposed by
                                    Visualizing is ``a symbolic representation       Sackett (1934) who stated that imagery
                                  of aspects of the personality not normally         enabled performers to rehearse the sequence
                                  available during conscious awareness''             of movements as symbolic components of a
                                  (Simonton et al., 1986, p. 198). The               task. Are there aspects of teaching which can
                                  unconscious self, so Simonton et al. believe,      best be consigned to automatic response? Far
                                  can be accessed in a kind of ``guided              from encouraging a lack of attention, such
                                  daydream'' where there can be a dialogue           automation might de-stress and empower a
                                  between the conscious and the unconscious          developing teacher in class. I thought back to
                                  self. Learning to access this unconscious self     aspects of teaching which could be usefully
                                  can take time and patience and contact is          ``automated'' by repetition ± using a tape
                                  easiest through consciously induced                recorder, using an overhead projector,
                                                                                                                              [ 237 ]
Sarah Fletcher                    operating a computer ± marking a set piece of        2 the mental content cannot be assimilated
A role for imagery in mentoring   work?                                                  into the conscious system because it
Career Development                  Certainly imagery appears to be well-                contains material incongruous with that
International                     accepted tool for enhancing performance in             system; and
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                                  sport. According to Veaney (in Williams,             3 the mental content consists of pre-verbal
                                  1997) it has been extensively researched:              or non-verbal material that is not encoded
                                    Richardson (1967a, b) and Corbin (1972)              in language.
                                    conducted extensive reviews of studies that
                                                                                       In my own case there was a combination of
                                    evaluated the effects of imagery training on
                                    motor performance. Although these reviews
                                                                                       all three elements and I found some difficulty
                                    were qualified with certain conditions, the        initially in transferring information from my
                                    researchers concluded that imagery is              preconscious self to my conscious self. It took
                                    valuable in learning and performing sport          a concerted effort to bring about conscious
                                    skills. As a follow-up, Martens (1982) reviewed    awareness, perhaps because, as Greenwald
                                    the imagery research related to sport and          (1983, p. 235) says:
                                    motor behavior from 1970 to 1982. He                 The hallmark of preconscious material is that
                                    concluded that imagery is an effective               it can be brought to conscious awareness by
                                    technique to improve performance and                 an act of attention. This does not necessarily
                                    documented improvement in sport skills.              mean that it is a simple matter to become
                                                                                         aware of preconscious processes. Reactions at
                                  Cox, in Sport Psychology Concepts and                  this level are so often automatic and fleeting
                                  Applications, 3rd ed., sets out a summary of           that it may take special practice and training
                                  three Cognitive Intervention Programs that             in the direction of attention to become aware
                                                                                         of certain preconscious thoughts and images.
                                  utilize imagery and relaxation (see Table I).
                                    If imagery enhances performance in                 The process of undertaking techniques of
                                  sports, where are the parallels in classroom         visualization and heightened self-awareness
                                  teaching? Where if anywhere might we                 has parallels with action research and with
                                  enable new teachers to ``run on automatic            stages set out in Little's concept (1983) of
                                  pilot'' so that they can concentrate their           personal projects, beginning with awareness,
                                  attention on those aspects of teaching that          then identification, pre-evaluation and
                                  require conscious and close attention?               acceptance. I became aware of the effects of
                                                                                       my pain, of the nature and severity of the
                                                                                       pain itself, planned how I would like to
                                   Autobiography; what has led me to                   manage it, undertook pain management and
                                  believe in visualization                             evaluated any progress I had made. In the
                                                                                       brief autobiographical account below I
                                  The process of establishing of an awareness          describe my own mastery of chronic pain.
                                  of my own self-system took time and effort             Looking back and re-experiencing the
                                  and I sometimes grew skeptical about the             exquisite moment of my self-healing I have a
                                  viability of doing so. Greenwald (1983, p. 231)      vivid memory of an incongruence between
                                  sets out several reasons for the difficulty          the self I was at that time and the desired self
                                  sometimes encountered in accessing mental            I wished to become. In a passion of focus, in a
                                  content:                                             surge of sensation, I found myself able to
                                  1 the mental content is repressed, or                centre my energies in a way I had never
                                     dissociated because it is morally                 experienced. A therapist at a local Pain
                                     unacceptable to the individual;                   Clinic instructed me to:

                                  Table I
                                  Summary of three cognitive intervention programs utlizing imagery and relaxation
                                  Intervention program                     Characteristic steps
                                  Visuo-motor behaviours rehearsal         1 Relaxation training for mastery
                                                                           2 Imagery in sports related environment
                                                                           3 Specific application of imagery and relaxation
                                  Stress inoculation                       1 Identification of stress and fear
                                                                           2 Relaxation training
                                                                           3 Athlete learns coping skills
                                                                           4 Progressive stress inoculation using coping skills
                                  Stress management                        1 Conceptualization of stress
                                                                           2 Development of a psychological skill for coping with stress
                                                                           3 Practise coping skills in real and imagined stressful environment

[ 238 ]
Sarah Fletcher                      Imagine your F F F acknowledge but don't live     feeling ± and image emanating from any
A role for imagery in mentoring     your pain ± feel its breadth and look at its      sensory stimulus.
Career Development                  colour. Visualize and believe (yes, that was         The sessions were video-taped and I used
International                       the key) visualize yourself without the pain.     this to supplement my understanding of the
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                                  Eventually there came one clearly recallable        impact of what occurred on the novice
                                  moment when I altered my perception of the          teachers and to examine my own practice as
                                  pain:                                               a teacher educator.
                                     The moment I knew I was healing myself              Part of the experience of my using
                                  was one of the funniest I shall ever remember!      visualization in my work as a teacher
                                  Encased in plaster from just below my armpits       educator involved bringing to my group a
                                  to my knee there was ``I'' seeing myself            large format photograph taken by my father
                                  running, dancing and playing with friends on        in the 1960s, I would guess of a little girl
                                  a beach! Momentary projection.. Pain, searing       sitting attentively, alone and erect at her
                                  pain, came machete-ing through my                   wooden desk in a classroom. The lines of her
                                  visualization ± don't panic, hold, hold to the      head and her sculptured hair echoed in the
                                  certainly that you will not falter in               distant focus on the handles of her pram.
                                  experiencing health. Draw from your being           Light falls on her work laid out in front of
                                  this agony and gently, gently ease it into          her, framed by her arms. The light reflects on
                                  vision. Initially so all pervasive this pain        her face ± serene and yet purposeful. She is
                                  becomes a ball. Initially so immobile it begins     perhaps six or seven years old ± and her dress
                                  to move ± it becomes a BALL! It bounces ± I can     tells us it is summer. It is a maths lesson and
                                  play ± and there I am ± a child with a ball ± a     tapes for measuring lie stretched out in front
                                  ball of pain. What to do with this ball? Easy! I    of her.
                                  colour the ball, add stripes, fair-isle patterns       I began the session by explaining the origin
                                  like knitwear! This ball of pain ± this pain        of the photo to my group. They can see it is
                                  ball no longer daunts me! I have a choice ± an      large but I leave it face down in front of me.
                                  ultimate choice to let it return to all embracing   Having shared the visual stimulus of the
                                  agony ± or to retain the ball. I bounce this        music, the group is primed to be creative ±
                                  ridiculous sphere round the walls of my             and later I explain the importance of
                                  imagination ± it loses its horror and I am          priming, of preparing a class in a similar
                                  reborn as it were as a new ``self'', a self that    way. Pre-teach, stimulate, create, recall,
                                                                                      reflect, recount ± this is the pattern of initial
                                  knows that health is closer.
                                                                                      teacher education I am devising as I explore
                                                                                      the potential of visualization in teaching.
                                                                                         I give my instructions to the group. I want
                                   How visualization is used                          them to think about their own reactions to
                                  effectively with pre-service                        the photograph ± how do they feel, what do
                                  teachers                                            they want to do when they see it, how can
                                  The pre-service teachers who took part in           they respond to what they see? I determine to
                                  using imagery were coming to the end of a 36        seek the personal reaction to the photograph
                                  week course leading to the award of a Post          before it becomes just another resource in
                                  Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).           the armoury for planning a lesson in school.
                                  They were in the process of becoming                This is my value as a teacher-educator ± that
                                  modern foreign languages teachers and had           the teacher must experience as a learner in
                                  already spent three extended periods of             planning a lesson. So often I observe lessons
                                  teaching experience in two different schools.       where the teaching is almost detached from
                                  There were 12 students in the group and this        the learning ± it is a solo performance,
                                  was the first occasion they had worked              instead of what it must be ± a means of
                                  together as a whole group for several months.       promoting optimum learning.
                                  Some of the sessions in which we explored             I sense the tension mount, there is a gasp
                                  the possibilities of using guided imagery           from the group as I reveal the photo ± the
                                  were recorded on video-tape and reflections         creative pause? An almost tangible calm
                                  on what occurred during the visualization           descends and the nascent teachers enter into
                                  are detailed later in this paper. At the end of     what seems to me to be a visual dialogue with
                                  the sessions, the pre-service teachers talked       the photograph. I look round the room ± there
                                  about their reactions to using imagery and          are gentle smiles ± this image is special to me
                                  after this discussion wrote individual              and I feel they know this and share an
                                  evaluations.                                        empathy in wonder at it. The group
                                    I explained to the group, prior to the            concentrates, the air is still, as they write.
                                  session detailed below, that imagery does not       The minutes pass and slowly the members of
                                  necessarily mean something seen in the              the group ease back from their writing and
                                  mind's eye. It might be a sound or a taste, a       wait for others still committing thoughts to
                                                                                                                                [ 239 ]
Sarah Fletcher                    paper ± to complete their notes. C, starts to         as some of the members of my group duly
A role for imagery in mentoring   speak ± almost in whisper ± ``Comment                 began to relax their facial muscles and gently
Career Development                t'appelles-tu?'' (What is your name?) I think         settle into their chairs. I asked them to see
International                     she's imaging! I believe she is holding an            what was happening in front of them and to
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                                  image of this girl alive in front of her and is       subtly replay the situation so things went a
                                  talking to her. Totally oblivious of the group,       little better than they first remembered ±
                                  it seems, she is speaking to the girl in the          what might they change? My message was
                                  photo ± What is your name, What are you               that they could put some of the negative
                                  doing? Do you like what you're doing? I               feelings on one side and increase their feeling
                                  hadn't expected this response ± the others in         of well-being through using visualization.
                                  the group sit, enrapt as she questions, sits          Then I asked the group to tell me how they
                                  back and eases out of her visual encounter. I         might make a slight change that would make
                                  would question her ± I need to talk to her, I         the lesson ``better''.
                                  need to know. I hadn't expected the reaction             K said she would just change her face. As
                                  from the group. They sit stunned but                  she did that during visualization, everything
                                  respecting her response. In this one moment I         felt good since she felt less ``frustrated and
                                  feel my intuition about her creativity is             worked up''. J commented that she had tried
                                  confirmed ± she is different, very different          that ± in class ± and it hadn't felt better.
                                  from others in the group ± and something              Clearly I had a challenge here and
                                  seems to stun them ± is it her creativity? So         visualization was on the line! I suggested that
                                  often they have appeared to discount her, to          visualization during reflection on rather
                                  reject her almost and now they are listening          than in action might be useful. Simply put, I
                                  as if spellbound.                                     was suggesting that by using visualization
                                     It is so exciting as a teacher-educator to         the teacher might achieve a sense of
                                  perceive another's way of seeing and making           completion, of satisfaction despite a difficult
                                  sense of the world, so differently from the           experience in class. Cl picked this up and
                                  way I do. I would never have questioned the           said this was exactly what she did ± it was not
                                  girl ± but for C this is clearly a very special       fair to pupils to carry on the difficulties from
                                  moment. So special she is moved close to              one lesson into the next. Then she told how
                                  tears. This is her self-actualization, this her       she had ``changed round'' a troublesome year
                                  moment of identity within the group ± she             10 class. She went in good humoured and
                                  has never commanded such attention and                shifted her expectations away from insisting
                                  such recognition of her own contribution to           on full silence to allowing some (purposeful)
                                  community as now. There is evident pleasure           talk among the pupils. ``I think I was the only
                                  on the faces of the others in the group ± it is       teacher in the school who enjoyed year 10!''
                                  as if C has opened the door ± she has dared to        she told us, obviously proud of her
                                  be herself and opened the door ± given                achievement. M stressed how she had found
                                  permission it feels for others to do likewise ±       that changing her facial expression had made
                                  the ideas flow ± we play creatively with ideas,       her more approachable for pupils ± and added
                                  suspending judgment, pooling sharing                  that it takes time to build a more positive
                                  impressions and plans ± If I were doing this I        relationship with a class ± more than one
                                  would ask my class to write to the girl F F F if it   lesson.
                                  were me I would be her teacher and I'd say F F F
                                  no. The kids could pretend to be her teacher ±        Using imagery to enhance pre-service
                                  they'd love that! They could imagine they are         teacher development: preparing for a job
                                  her friend ± what's she really like?                  interview
                                     Later I encouraged the group to think              The next scenario using visualization with
                                  themselves into a classroom situation where           my PGCE group involved remembering, or
                                  they were teaching but things did not go              conjuring up, an interview situation where
                                  quite as they had hoped and planned. In their         tricky questions were being asked and you,
                                  visualization I encouraged them to pick up on         the interviewee were feeling a little ill at
                                  how the class and they were reacting ±                ease. I suggested that the novices listen to the
                                  perhaps the children were not paying                  awkward question being asked and looked
                                  attention, maybe someone walked in and                loosely at the interviewer's face. By this I was
                                  disrupted the flow of the lesson. I asked them        hoping to desensitize them. By looking
                                  to focus on their own face and body language          directly at the interviewer they might be able
                                  ± to step outside themselves and audit the            to manage the nervousness at a later stage in
                                  effect of the situation upon them. There were         a real interview that had prevented them
                                  giggles of amusement and nervousness from             giving their best. As they looked at the
                                  the group! I invited them to change the               interviewer's face, I asked them to monitor
                                  situation just marginally by changing their           how they were reacting. Next, I invited them
                                  facial expression to a smile ± and I watched          to imagine themselves giving the answer that
[ 240 ]
Sarah Fletcher                    they wanted to and again to monitor their          her past ± for S it is important to keep
A role for imagery in mentoring   own reactions. How did they feel? (and not         momentos of everything ± and thereby ``hold''
Career Development                only how did they look). While holding this        the past in the present. K is marrying soon.
International                     image in their mind, I quietly suggested that      How will she capture her marriage so she can
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                                  they work on their own self-image. They            re-enter the experience later, if and when she
                                  were at the interview because they had             wishes ± she will choose just one or two special
                                  prepared and they wanted this job, they were       images and remember every detail. I realize
                                  ``good'' enough. Finally I told them that the      how vital imagery is to the patterning of our
                                  interviewer would ask one last vital question      daily life.
                                  ± the question I tend to use at all pre-PGCE
                                  interviews; ``Now tell me, why should I offer
                                  you this post?'' Again I asked them to give the     Exploring the potential for the use
                                  answer they wanted to and to sense that            of visualization by mentors
                                  things were going well and that they would
                                                                                     Possible areas to consider
                                  be successful ± how would they be sitting and      .   Reinforcing positive self-images in the
                                  looking ± positive reinforcement here!
                                                                                         mentee's new role.
                                     J took up this cue and told the group how       .   Sensitisation of the mentee to new
                                  she had replayed a past interview in just this
                                                                                         experiences in new role.
                                  way. It had become a learning experience,          .   Sharing a mentor's experiences ± making
                                  rather than staying a painful memory, as she           the tacit more explicit.
                                  prepared herself for the next interview by         .   Forming positive possible selves for the
                                  mentally rehearsing the question that had              mentee to work towards.
                                  proved problematic to answer. In doing this
                                  exercise I was showing the group that              Possible selves applied to an education
                                  visualization might enable them to prepare         context
                                  for what is inevitable ± a very stressful          The concept of possible selves has been
                                  experience. K said that she too had managed        already been applied to an educational
                                  to effect a positive replay and that, in her       context (Inglehart et al., 1989). In Ingelhart et
                                  case, this had happened while the interview        al.'s (1989) and in Leondari et al.'s (1998)
                                  was still underway. At the end, the                work, mentioned earlier, the effects of
                                  interviewer had invited her to say how she         possible selves have been measured against
                                  would change any aspect of her performance         academic achievement:
                                  that she had just given ± she said she would           Thinking about possible selves can have a
                                  have changed her response to a certain                 very concrete impact on how we initiate and
                                  question, rephrased it, and got the job on             structure our actions to realize positive
                                  offer. I hope more interviewers take heed.             possible selves. Concerning the structuring
                                                                                         aspect, we argue that the more a person
                                  After the session I made the following                 focuses on a possible professional self, the
                                  observations in my log                                 better the future academic achievement
                                  Something very special has occurred in our             connected with this profession will be
                                                                                         (Inglehart et al., 1989, p. 471).
                                  morning's session. The relationship I have
                                  shared with members of the group for almost a      The findings suggest that possible selves play
                                  year has changed ± we are relating in a much       an important part in the motivation process
                                  more personal and individual way ± a barrier       in terms of structuring future actions as well
                                  has gone down and there are bridge between         as energizing the individual to achieve
                                  us now. They ask me personal questions ± am I      desired goals.
                                  the girl, how do I use imagery in my everyday        It seems to me that pre-service teachers
                                  life ± what is it like to use it for controlling   might come, through a process of
                                  pain? What are my photographs like? Like my        visualization, to value those selves that have
                                  father's? Something has happened, there is         already attained actualization within their
                                  more understanding ± more communication ±          own self-system. Under pressure in a new
                                  more intimacy.                                     and challenging work environment,
                                     I realize I am not only giving more of myself   reminding themselves of former success in
                                  ± personalizing my relationship as a teacher       another context can protect and enhance
                                  educator ± much as personalized my teaching        their threatened self-esteem. Similarly, they
                                  with my pupils ± but I am learning so much         can accommodate those successes into
                                  from the group. Cl tells me about her own use      possible selves that are as yet embryonic and
                                  of visualization. C explains that she does not     these past successful selves can assist them
                                  have keepsakes ± for her the past is gone,         in attaining their desired goal of becoming a
                                  defunct ± and does not visibly connect with the    good teacher. By raising awareness of
                                  present and the future. For K it is different ±    messages emitted by their self-system,
                                  her box of keepsakes keeps her in touch with       trainees could learn to select courses of
                                                                                                                               [ 241 ]
Sarah Fletcher                    action that would be appropriate for them to        Having spent a considerable amount of effort
A role for imagery in mentoring   pursue and to reject or put on hold those           honing their skills so they become almost
Career Development                selves that are less likely to enable them to       instinctive, teachers are not always well
International                     structure their actions to achieve their            prepared to unpick the reasons for their
5/4/5 [2000] 235±243
                                  desired goal. According to Kaplan (1986,            actions. Visualization could enable them to
                                  p.102), self-awareness once mastered becomes        project themselves into teaching situations
                                  an integral part of the individual:                 and share their insights from past experience
                                    Once the person experiences self-feelings,        that have resulted in present choices being
                                    they become part of the system of persona         made and current actions undertaken.
                                    traits, behaviours and experiences that
                                                                                      Visualization could empower mentors in
                                    stimulate self-referent responses.
                                                                                      educating pre-service teachers, particularly
                                  Mentees can learn, I suggest, to appreciate         where they have problems, by visualizing
                                  that skills are transferable between selves. I      their teacher self in the role of the novice.
                                  suggest that accessing and formulating              Thus, visualization techniques could bring
                                  possible selves can provide an energizing           about self-actualization for mentors
                                  force and a structuring for mentors by              (Fletcher, 1998) as well as for pre-service
                                  reviewing messages generated by their own           teachers.
                                  internal self-system they too are likely to be
                                  in a stronger position to prioritize                References
                                  appropriately. Through accessing their self-        Bandura, A. (1988), ``Self-regulation of motivation
                                  system they, like Simontons' patients, can              and action through goal systems'', in
                                  achieve more positive goals than those they             Hamilton, V., Bower, G.H. and Frijda, N.H.
                                  have managed before.                                    (Eds), Cognition, Motivation and Affect: A
                                                                                          Cognitive Science View, Martinus Nijhoff,
                                   Conclusion                                         Connelly, F.M. and Clandinin, J. (1999), Shaping
                                                                                          Professional Identity: Stories of Educational
                                  By building into the programme of initial               Practice, Althouse Press, University of
                                  teacher education the technique of                      Western Ontario, London, Ontario.
                                  visualization, the process of pre-service           Fletcher, S. (1998), ``Attaining self-actualization
                                  teaching exploits humans' natural ability to            through mentoring'', European Journal of
                                  go beyond their fear and experience success             Teacher Education, Vol. 21 No. 21, pp. 109-18.
                                  in rehearsing their teaching strategies. This       Gawain, S. (1982), Creative Visualization, Bantam
                                  is an essential process of natural preparation          Books, London.
                                  for action that the human self-system has           Greenwald, A. (1983), Psychological Perspectives
                                  evolved to cope with change and especially              on the Self, Erlbaum Associates, London.
                                  under threat. Little (1983) claimed, within his     Hewitt, J. (1978), Meditation, Teach Yourself
                                  theory of Personal Projects, that through               Seres, Hodder & Stoughton, Sevenoaks.
                                  visualization the self-system can prime             Houston, J. (1982), The Possible Human, St
                                  muscles and nerves ready for action:                    Martin's Press and Tarcher, New York, NY.
                                    A personal project will be regarded as a set of   Inglehart, M.R., Markus, H. and Brown, D.R.
                                    inter-related acts over time, which is                (1989), ``The effects of possible selves on
                                    intended to maintain or attain a state of             academic achievement'', in Forgas, J.P. and
                                    affairs foreseen by the individual. Personal          Innes, J.M. (Eds), Recent Advances in Social
                                    projects reflect cognitive, affective and             Psychology: An International Perspective,
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                                    1983, p. 276).                                    Kaplan, H.B. (1986), The Psychology of Self-
                                                                                          Referent Behaviour, Plenum Press, New York,
                                  Effective training incorporates this pre-
                                  experience and visualization can contribute
                                                                                      Leondari, A., Syngollitou, E. and Kiosseoglou, G.
                                  to enhancing this process. Correspondingly,
                                                                                          (1998), ``Academic achievement, motivation
                                  the professional development of mentors that
                                                                                          and future selves'', Educational Studies,
                                  results from working with pre-service                   Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 153-63.
                                  teachers could make effective use of                Little, B.R. (1983), ``Personal projects: a rationale
                                  visualization techniques. Visualization                 and method for investigation'', Environment
                                  might enable mentors to prepare for assisting           and Behaviour, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 273-309.
                                  their mentees in the training process and           McIntyre, D. (1990), ``Ideas and principles guiding
                                  enable them to reflect upon and improve                 the internship scheme'', in Benton, P. (Ed.),
                                  their own teaching too. They could visualize            The Oxford Internship Scheme: Integration
                                  themselves in the trainees' place in                    and Partnership in Initial Teacher Education,
                                  threatening situations and then share a                 Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, London.
                                  discussion more easily about the dynamics           McNiff, J. (1994), Action Research Principles and
                                  and desirable goals within a class situation.           Practice, Routledge, London.

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Sarah Fletcher                    Markham, U. (1989), The Elements of                        Constructivist Teacher Education; Building a
A role for imagery in mentoring       Visualization, Element, Shaftesbury.                   World of New Understandings, pp. 109-26.
Career Development                Markus, H. and Ruvolo, A. (1989), ``Possible           Fletcher, S. (1995), ``Motivation and mentoring'',
International                         selves: personalized representations of goals'',       paper presented at the European Educational
5/4/5 [2000] 235±243                  in Pervin, L.A. (Ed.), Goal Concepts in                Research Conference, Bath.
                                      Personality and Social Psychology, Erlbaum,        Furlong, J. and Maynard, T. (1995), Mentoring
                                      Hillsdale, New Jersey, NJ.                             Student Teachers, Routledge, London.
                                  Ruvolo, A.P. and Markus, H.R. (1992), ``Possible       Hamilton, G.H., Bower and Frijda, N.H. (No date),
                                      selves and performance: the power of self-             Cognition, Motivation and Affect: A Cognitive
                                      relevant imagery'', Social Cognition, Vol. 10,         Science View, Martinus Nijhoff, Dordrecht.
                                      pp. 95-124.                                        Mc Intyre, D. (1990), ``Ideas and principles guiding
                                  Sackett, R.S. (1934), ``The influence of symbolic
                                                                                             the internship scheme'', in Benton, P. (Ed.),
                                      rehearsal upon the retention of a maze habit'',
                                                                                             The Oxford Internship Scheme: Integration
                                      Journal of General Psychology, offprint.
                                                                                             and Partnership in Initial Teacher Education,
                                  Simonton, C., Matthews-Simonton, S. and
                                      Creighton, J.L (1986), Getting Well Again,             Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, London.
                                      Bantam Books, London.                              Maslow, A.H. (1970), Motivation and Personality,
                                  Williams, J.M. (1997), Applied Sport Psychology:           2nd ed., Harper & Rowe, New York, NY.
                                      Personal Growth to Peak Performance,               Nuttin, J. (1984), Motivation, Planning and Action
                                      Mayfield Publishing, Mountain View, CA.                ± a Relational Theory of Behaviour Dynamics,
                                  Willis, P. (1994), Visualization for Beginners,            Leuven University Press and Laurence
                                      Hodder & Stoughton, London.                            Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.
                                                                                         Whitehead, J. (1989), ``Creating a living
                                  Further reading                                            educational theory from questions of the
                                  Feiman-Nemser, S. and Beasley, K. (1997),                  kind; how do I improve my practice?'',
                                     ``Mentoring as assisted performance; a case of          Cambridge Journal of Education, Vol. 19,
                                     co-planning'', in Richardson, V. (Ed.),                 pp. 41-52.

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