COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS AMONG TEACHERS: ITS IMPACT ON THE CLASSROOM ATMOSPHERE Ashwini N.V Ganig, Asst. Professor, Montfort College, Bangalore
Cognitive distortions are systematic errors in reasoning that may lead to faulty assumptions and misconceptions. (Beck & Weishaar, 2008; Dattilio & Freeman, 1992). These errors in reasoning give rise to inaccurate mental representation and justifications of thoughts, feelings and actions of the self, others and the world.
SPECIFIC COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS PERSONALIZATION: This refers to a tendency in individuals where one attributes himself/herself to be the cause for external events. DICHOTOMOUS THINKING: Individuals with a tendency to think in an either-or fashion view situations in just two categories, each falling at the extremes. ARBITRARY INFERENCE: This refers to a tendency in individuals where one jumps to conclusions without having any supportive evidence to testify the assumption made.
OVER GENERALIZATION: This refers to a tendency of seeing patterns and applying this faulty understanding to make sense of dissimilar situations. SELECTIVE ABSTRACTION: This refers to a tendency where the individual pays attention to just one aspect of the situation and makes judgments without taking into consideration the entire context. MAGNIFICATION AND MINIMIZATION: Magnification refers to exaggerating the significance of an event. Minimization refers to perceiving a situation in a lesser light than it truly deserves.
LABELLING: This refers to attaching labels to oneself or others instead of to one’s behaviour. EMOTIONAL REASONING: This refers to assuming ones feelings as facts. MUST-AND-SHOULD THINKING: This refers to having fixed ideas about how one and others should feel, think and behave. This thinking pattern compels individuals to set rigid rules.
METHODOLOGY The non-experimental method of case study was employed for this study. A workshop was conducted for a group of 32 teachers facilitating classes for primary and high school students. The purpose of the workshop was to help teachers recognize their unhelpful thinking styles. The rationale for the design of the workshop comes from the idea that individuals can be psycho-educated on cognitive distortions and be asked to identify it themselves (Neenan, M &.Dryden,W, 2004).
Case of J.J J.J is a 42 year old male, teaching Mathematics for high school students in a private school for the last 21 years. J.J reported that he had noticed five unhelpful thinking patterns in him, namely personalization, arbitrary inference, must and should thinking, labeling, and minimization. He also reported his understanding of how these thinking styles were affecting the classroom atmosphere.
PERSONALIZATION: ‘Students fail because of me. Students bunk classes because of me’. ARBITRARY INFERENCE: ‘I can tell what a student is thinking by just looking at him’ MUST-AND-SHOULD THINKING: ‘Students must not speak during class. They should only be looking at the board’.
LABELING: ‘He must be an idiot to not be able to understand such a simple problem’ MINIMIZATION: ‘Nothing will happen even if i don’t teach anything in the classes’
Recommendations Promoting mental health among teachers Assessing the ability of a mental health professional before employing Developing modules and training programmes for teachers