A role for imagery in mentoring
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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[ 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
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''
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,
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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:
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
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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
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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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