“Guided Mastery”

Posted: December 2, 2012

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I received an email yesterday from a grandfather who homeschools his grandson. He said, “Your program looks interesting, but I don’t understand exactly what you do.” I watched a TED Talk recently called “How to Build Your Creative Confidence” and thought it was highly relevant to what I do in my workshop.

Albert Bandura (1925-    )

All writing is creative, whether you are writing a research report, a financial analysis, or a poem. For many people, old and young, a lack of creative confidence impedes their ability to write. Many people grow up to believe they are “just not the creative type,” based on something their teacher said in third grade or based on their interest in accounting.

In the TED talk, CEO David Kelly explains that we need to start seeing all people as naturally creative. He believes (as I do) that creativity is not the special domain of a precious, gifted few. Kelly helps people from all walks of life conquer their fear of creativity using a process called “guided mastery.” It was was developed by Albert Bandura, one of the most influential psychologists of all time. The idea is that if you guide people through a series of steps that allow them to experience small successes, they will gain confidence and “self-efficacy,” which means “a person’s belief in his or her ability to succeed in a particular situation.”

The step-by-step process I use in workshop works in much the same way. By breaking down the writing (creative) process into simple steps, students can experience daily successes and develop an attitude of: “I can do this!”

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