Anchoring is a technique used to manage emotional states in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. It involves setting up an association with a desired mental state such as happiness or calm by creating an anchor stimuli to that state. Anchoring is one of various NLP techniques which have applications not only in terms of managing thinking and feeling but also as classroom activities to support other learning aims.

Hearing a song and remembering a sad experience, or smelling a particular food and recalling a time in childhood, are both examples of anchors.

In the classroom
Anchoring can be used to reduce affective factors such as stress. Learners - and teachers in stressful situations such as exams or observations - can be encouraged to make associations with a previous, happier experience that they have created an anchor to.

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Submitted by Mario Rinvolucri on Sat, 11/29/2008 - 19:27


A very clear example of anchoring as a classroom exercise is as follows:

Work with a student in front of the class and ask them exactly what  kind of pizzas they eat and exactly how they eat them. Ask a lot of detailed questions about the student's  pizza-eating process. Question two more students in front of the class on how, precisely, they eat a pizza. ( if pizza are not eaten locally, choose another popular local dish)

Now group the students in fours to question each other about their particular eating process.

I guarantee that your students will involuntarily remember your pizza class every time they eat a pizza for at least six months! You have anchored the class in their unconscious minds and each next eating will fire the anchor. Fortunately anchors do weaken over time!

Mario Rinvolucri

Submitted by mlvecuador on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 15:48


It was really a good task to anchor - hear a song during the English class.

I played the song from Whitney Houston called: "Greatest love of all"  which encouraged all the students to achieve their goals and remembered when they failed, no matter which was the case, they should be able to succeed, even when learning English as a foreign language.

This activity was really great for my teenagers' students! Thank you!

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