Verb Choices and Learning Opportunities
lives are filled with a combination of both obligations and opportunities. Sometimes
we may even have difficulty distinguishing between the two. Having the chance
to work hard, to push oneself to accomplish tasks, and to learn new things is
an opportunity. Access to education is not universal – learning is in many ways
still a privilege, regionally and globally.
There is a
unique balance within each of us, of demands that are within our capacities,
and complexity that is within our proximal zone of development. We may have
personal limits at any given time and our understanding is continually
expanding, however, we are often stronger than we know. This may mean that we
thrive when we work just a little harder than we think we can. We grow when we
appreciate the moments that challenge us.
We have the
ability to change the perception of any given task or event with only one word.
Verb choices carry more semantic meaning than we often expect. The verb choice
may show either obligation or opportunity. Consider the following two
“We have to
read this book today.”
to read this book today.”
statement makes you more interested in reading the book? The first sentence is
about obligation and the second sentence is about opportunity. When we use the
verb “have to”, we automatically demote the task to something that is
undesirable. When we “get to” do something, we elevate it by adding excitement,
eagerness, and adventure. We are affected by our word choices and our own
self-talk. Think about what you will gain from your accomplishments and how
lucky you are to “get to” to do things.
are affected by our word choices and how we present tasks to them. They can
often read our moods, and their own responses to the activities may be
predetermined simply by how we introduce them. We can entice through verb choices,
highlighting newness, curiosity, and interest. Think about what you and your
client will “get to” do at your next session.
our colleagues are affected by our word choice. Consider these two statements:
to go to a training session on behavioral intervention yesterday.”
to go to go to a training session on behavioral intervention yesterday.”
statement might elicit a response of sympathy or commiseration, while the
second statement has the potential to pique someone’s interest, e.g., “Really,
how was it? What did they say?”
remember that learning is a gift, we can present the acquisition of knowledge
and the practice of skills as the opportunities that they are. We can let our
words entice others to participate.