Changing a narrative

Yesterday I watched the video of a Parkland shooting survivor juxtaposed with an NRA spokesperson where, line for line, the student changed the narrative of the NRA’s message. It’s worth a watch, regardless of your views on gun rights/control, because it’s a great example of changing a narrative.

How often do adult learners have a narrative that they’ve polished over time that goes like this, “I’m no good at book learning,” or “I’m too old for new tricks”? Often, I find. My favorite moments as a trainer recently have been at a local Navy base teaching daylong classed called Presentation Excellence and Accidental Trainer. There are some well-polished and learning-inhibiting narratives that surface in every group at the start of the class. And by the end, those narrative have been upended, transformed into “I proved to myself that I can…talk in front of a group…put together a coherent lesson plan…explain things clearly on the fly.” Basically, a narrative of “I’m stupid” has shifted to “I’m learning.” That brings me great joy.

I believe that examining and changing up narratives that have settled in over time  is good for the person with a new more affirming narrative, for the organization where they work, and for the world!

What have you learned about changing narratives from your adult education experience?

  • What learning-inhibiting narratives have you encountered in adult ed settings?
  • What trainer tips do you have for changing narratives?
  • What are some of your favorite new narratives that come out of your work as a trainer?

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