It is Time!

We know enough about removing the red zone now

If we go back far enough in education, we can see that educators could create a façade behind which the real person could shelter.  “Don’t smile before Easter”, comes to mind, as a rule of thumb, for creating an austere persona that could later be softened once students were willingly compliant.

As teaching has transformed gradually into a true profession, students want to – need to - engage with the real person, not the façade and not a person who is beset with anxieties and other hang ups.

Students want to engage with adults who act consistently from the adult mind state, from the blue zone.When an educator does this – and students are certain that whatever they do, the response will always be from this place - then they create the type of connection that supports autonomous motivation in their students.


Yet, we have all been brought up in a system that encouraged and reinforced the creation of two mind states, the red zone as well as the blue zone.

For some educators the uncertainties, ambiguities and pressures inherent in teaching cause their red zones to trigger frequently, providing an inconsistent and therefore unhelpful (from the student’s point of view) response.

We know enough now about how to manage, modulate and finally remove the red zone altogether that we could, quite systematically, improve the quality of connections taking place and thus the level of autonomous motivation in students.

We just need to recognise that this is a part of where education is going and will not only improve student outcomes but also staff well-being.

When will this get properly onto the agenda?



John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter.Earlier blogs can be found here.

John Corrigan