Spelling beliefs

by Joanna on May 18, 2007

No, not a post about how to spell the word ‘belief’ (though it can be tricky), but the beliefs we hold about spelling…

I was doing some background reading ahead of the dyslexia coaching course I’m going on next week, including a quick dip into the work that Robert Dilts has done on spelling strategies.  Now you might be familiar with the idea of negative or limiting beliefs holding us back, like

“I can’t spell” or “I’ll never be a good speller”.

What Dilts picked up was that people might also hold more complex beliefs around spelling, beliefs that might be creating unconscious resistance if not uncovered and addressed.  In an article on the NLP spelling strategy he highlights two examples where beliefs were creating unconscious resistance.

In the first a man in his mid-30s learns the new spelling strategy and confirms that yes, he now knows that he can spell.  However he also says that he doesn’t intend to use it much because he doesn’t want to become a ’stiff and insensitive person’.  With further exploration Dilts uncovered an unconscious association between ‘proper spelling’ and an insensitive spelling teacher.  This was not the kind of person his client wanted to be - which meant he would never really want to be a good speller…

The second example was similar.  A man in his 40s remembered having a hard time with his spelling teacher when he was young and was holding on to the belief that learning how to spell would equal ‘finally giving in to that S.O.B. after all these years…’  Again this was an unconscious belief that was creating resistance to achieving his consciously desired outcome of becoming a better speller.

The article is well worth a read if you’re interested in NLP and spelling.  It was a good reminder to me of the importance of working with the whole person, including their belief systems, to achieve spelling and writing goals.

I’d be interested to know what beliefs you hold about spelling - the ones you are aware of telling yourself (and others) or those that perhaps lie a bit deeper below the surface…

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