Behavior Modification and Skill Enhancement Term Paper

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[. . .] The preparation issue is arguably the most important challenge community colleges currently confront. It cannot be neutralized by redefining outcomes, nor avoided by excluding high-risk students.

Changing the learning environment, especially student interactions with faculty members, by employing an achievement model that builds upon students' strengths rather than focuses on their weaknesses is the only alternative promising long- term improvement.

The task of implementing achievement models in institutions historically committed to access is, above all, a task of managing culture. It is the only approach through which the faculty who control the nature of the learning environment and its impact on students can be influenced to alter their prevailing deficiency views and practices.

There are emerging models of the way the process works. Efforts to manage culture will be aided by the opportunity to employ new staff as those representative of founding values and beliefs retire in large numbers over the next decade.

HYPOTHESIS

Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)

Neurolinguistic programming involves the brain and neural network feeding the brain (neuro), the content - verbal and non-verbal - traveling across and through the neural network (linguistic), and the way the content or signal is manipulated to convert the signal being transported into useful information (programming).

Experience and internalized feelings affect the way the human brain reacts to external stimuli. The brain interprets the implications of experiences (either good or bad), biases, opinions, value systems, and so on into useful data.

John Grinder and Richard Bandler - an information scientist and a linguist at the University of California, Santa Cruz - developed NLP in the early 1970's.

Observing people with similar educations, training, backgrounds, and years of experience who were achieving a wide range of results - ranging from amazing to mediocre - these scientists set out to learn the processes undertaken by successful people.

Study parameters included human performance and accomplishment, with a particular interest in behavior duplication - and accordingly competence measurements of highly effective individuals.

Known as the "golden era of modeling and simulation," the study focused on modeling human excellence by measuring factors such as education, business, therapy, and finally human communication.

Grinder and Bandler initiated the communication aspects by studying verbal language, eye movements, non-verbal communication, and so on. Following a modeling schema, patterns emerged which supported their theory that the brain can learn the healthy patterns and behaviors of successful people thereby bringing about positive physical and emotional effects. Thus, Neurolinguistic Programming was born.

Emergent theory is based on the premise that the words people use reflect an inner, subconscious perception of the problems they experience. If these words are inaccurate, they create underlying problems as long as the individual continues to use and think them; attitudes provide the culture for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The neurolinguistic therapist analyzes every word and phrase a high-risk college student uses in describing feelings or concerns about higher education. He or she examined facial expressions and body movements.

After determining problems in student perception, the therapist assists the high-risk student in understanding the root cause. The therapist then helps remodel the thoughts and mental associations to reform all preconceived notions. These preconceived notions can prevent the high-risk student from achieving academic success and degree completion.

The hypothesis for this study is based on the premise that high-risk community college students' reality maps can be changed in order to achieve success in higher education careers.

RATIONALE

Presuppositions

NLP forces a number of presuppositions - beliefs the high-risk student will find useful in effecting the desired changes. For example:

communication is more than what is only said;

no one is 'wrong' or 'broken'; people work perfectly to accomplish what they are currently accomplishing;

the student already has all the resources they need to succeed;

behind every behavior is a positive intention;

every behavior is useful in some context;

the meaning of communication is the response received;

if the student is not getting the response (results) desired, different approaches must be considered; there is no such thing as failure, only feedback; having choice is better than having no choice at all; in any system, the element with the most flexibility exerts the most influence; the map is not the territory; and if one person can do something, the student can learn to do it as well; the student cannot fail to communicate.

Based on these assumptions, therefore, the high-risk student can be taught to alter preconceptions of failure in higher education and successfully complete the degree plan.

LITERATURE REVIEW severe paucity of scientific, empirical research has been produced to support the principles and techniques of NLP. What literature that does exist is primarily dedicated to defending the position that the effectiveness and usefulness of NLP intervention cannot be determined through scientific quantitative or qualitative experimentation.

There is no longer anything called NLP and probably hasn't been since Bandler and Grinder parted company and theoretical cooperation. NLP became a movement; rapidly growing, diversifying, and developing as a body of knowledge and insight. Rather than evolving into a scientific body of knowledge, it is now an emulate of the Internet: anarchic, uncontrollable, "owned" by its many contributors and developers around the world, and a continually creative entity.

Laboratory experimentation and the application of statistical models to testing hypothesis in the field of psychology have been questionable methods for determining the validity of numerous cognitive models (Southworth, 1995).

Neuro-linguistic programming, psychoanalysis, and the principle tenets of cognitive science are not easily studied through the comparison of expected and actual results of an experiment. As Southworth explains, statistical models rarely exhibit consistent results when applied to psychological hypothesis. In short, the number of factors, which affect cognitive processes and the resulting behavior, is far too complex to be fully understood.

Laboratory conditions can seldom be replicated, and the individuals being tested are continually affected by sensory experiences, even during the testing process.

Based on the preceding opinion, it would appear that all psychological models are relatively untestable in a laboratory environment. Many psychological models and hypothesis, however, have proven to effective and shown consistent results in numerous experiments. The proponents of neurolinguistic programming argue that NLP is uniquely untestable, or at least, is not accurately testable in a laboratory setting.

Robbins (1995) notes four primary problems with attempting to experimentally test neurolinguistic programming. First, experimenters are rarely sufficiently trained in NLP skills and techniques, and objective enough to do credible research. Second, there is no quality control in NLP. Neurolinguistic programming does not have a single governing body, which is recognized by all training institutes. Incompetent trainers have marred the credibility of NLP as a scientific practice.

What makes NLP different in this respect is that nearly all other scientific fields have either nationally or internationally recognized certification processes and guidelines.

Robbins also notes that NLP is untestable when specific techniques are isolated from the entire methodology. As Robbins explains, "Much of NLP research tries to "prove" diagnostics, like the eye movement or predicate accessing cues. NLP does not say there is an underlying relationship between these cues and the type of cognitive processing. NLP says if you pretend there is, you will get certain results by using the pretended relationship to guide the intervention. The distinction is critical" (p. 1-2).

The fourth problem Robbins explains with experimentally testing NLP techniques is that previous research has attempted to use DSM-III diagnostics with NLP techniques.

Neurolinguistic programming is a model of diagnosis. The NLP diagnosis determines the NLP intervention (Robbins, 1995). Neurolinguistic programming interventions have not shown to be effective (in previous research) with DSM-III diagnosis, but no research has been conducted to determine the effectiveness of NLP interventions with NLP diagnosis.

An NLP intervention cannot be tested with a traditional psychological diagnosis (or vice versa).

Many proponents of neurolinguistic programming (e.g., Einspruch & Forman, 1985; Robbins, 1995; Dilts, 1983) state that the procedures and interventions generated from the NLP model must be used within the presuppositions contained in the model.

Previous researchers have adopted only half of the model (the intervention), and ignored the presupposition related to the intervention. The entire model must be adopted in order to accurately test the effectiveness of an intervention. Previous research has attempted to evaluate the effectiveness of NLP techniques by isolating one piece or portion of the model and examine it as an independent pattern. Dilts states, "The various techniques that make up the body of NLP were isolated and made explicit, as separate pieces, in order to make them easily learnable. In order to make them useful, however, they must be applied simultaneously, as a whole" (1983, p. 65-66).

Einspruch & Forman (1985) believe that Sharpley (1984) failed to consider numerous methodological errors in his review of NLP research. The categories of errors include: researcher's lack of understanding of the concepts of pattern recognition and inadequate control of context, unfamiliarity with NLP as an approach to therapy, inadequate definitions… [end of preview; READ MORE]

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