People frequently confuse fact for opinion, and right now, possibly more than ever before, we need to understand the facts.
WHAT IS A FACT?
A fact is evidence-based and can be googled to back up the fact.
- Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister for the UK?
- Google and you will see this is true.
- 8% of the earth is covered with water?
- Google and you will see this is true.
These are facts. They are undeniable.
WHAT IS AN OPINION?
Opinions can be very strong and often appear as facts. When you investigate them a little further, you see they are opinions. Opinions are often hidden in the wording of statements.
- Boris Johnson is a great Prime Minister (according to whom?)
Opinions are often believed to be true. For example, as children, many of our parents led us to believe in Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy, and I am sure we remember the day we found that these facts were opinions, which are also known as beliefs. And beliefs run very deep in us as human beings. Wars have been fought for a belief. The belief of ownership of land, the running of a country, religious beliefs. The reality is they are beliefs. They are not right or wrong, they are beliefs.
Try these out.
See if you can see which of the following are Facts and which are Opinions.
- Learning the English language is a skill for life?
- Mastering the English language is the best skill for life you can learn?
- Exams are essential to measuring our learning progress.
- All schools are shut.
- The Coronavirus has been named Covid19.
- F – yes, language competence is a skill for life
- O – no, English is one of many languages and only one skill for life. There are many others.
- O – they are one measure: not the only measure. There are many ways we can evidence learning – using the skills we have learned in life.
- O – no, schools are open for families of key workers and families registered as in need of support.
- F – yes. It was named this as it is a coronavirus disease that started in 2019.
Beliefs are formed from the information we receive from the earliest age. Some beliefs are good:
I believe I am the best English Language teacher on the planet!
Is it true?
Here’s the most important question – does it have to be true to be a belief? No, not if it’s useful.
Is it useful for me to believe that I am the best English Language teacher on the planet? Yes, it is. It gives me the confidence to keep working, even with the trickiest learners, because I believe I will find the way through and support them to learn to the best of their ability. And guess how easy it is for me to find the way through to learners… Easy, because I believe in me, my abilities, my learning.
Am I hurting anyone by holding that belief? No, I don’t think so. I think this belief helps me to help, not hinder.
Now for the big question…
Should I continue believing that I am the best English Language teacher on the planet?
YES! I can continue to be the best I can be, whilst helping my learners to be the best they can be.
I also hold the belief that I am not good at technology.
Is that useful?
No. When it comes to technology I run and hide. I hand it over to anyone that will help me. I feel paralysed in this field of technology.
Is it harming anyone for me to hold this belief?
Yes. I am limiting myself in what I can do. I am limiting my learners and clients because I don’t give them as much as I could.
Should I keep this belief?
NO! now is the time for me to ditch this belief.
And I believe I can ditch it easily. I can learn a little at a time. I now use Zoom for my teaching and learning. I will be running group mindfulness online in the coming weeks. I am writing blogs!
Changing beliefs can be as easy as you want it to be.
Take some time to discover your beliefs. Ask if they are useful to you and harmful to others. If they are useful and not harmful, keep them. If they are not useful, or are harmful to yourself or others – change them to something different: something useful and not harmful.
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