• neuro-linguistic programming;
  • visualisation;
  • altered states;
  • engagement in learning;
  • special educational needs

In seeking to identify the processes associated with the immediate engagement of learning for students with mild special educational needs, this study examined the responses of an extraction group (n = 7) of 11- to 13-year-old students who participated in a number of lessons in which the opening episode involved the use of visualisation techniques and language associated with representational systems as identified within neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). Students endeavoured to alter their negative state to a positive state via this intervention. The study, by Voldis Kudliskis of South Dartmoor Community College, was of a naturalistic research design, and the students' experiences were explored by means of formal interviews, semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and observations. The implications for altering state through techniques associated with NLP are described and evaluated in terms of student comments. The case is made for the process of altering state as a strategy to empower students to engage with their learning from the outset of the lesson.