Innertainment | FUTURE FOCUS for Educators
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FUTURE FOCUS for Educators

The Future Focus Strategy helps shift students into “future thinking” through recognition of     their internal dialogue,  time perspective, and executive function thought processes. Without Executive Function Thinking, human beings do not have:


  • The ability to control impulsivity.
  • Flexible thinking open to learning about their own thinking or new possibilities.
  • The ability to move past working memory (short term) into the long-term memory required for higher level reflection.


The Future Focus Strategy, part of the Innertainment Program, builds a student’s ability to shift out of “triggered” “autopilot” negative thinking from their past, into analyzing situations and goals within a future perspective using metacognition. Once a student learns techniques such as those described in the lesson below, teachers and counselors have a base for discussing when a student’s actions or behaviors are arising from their Backstage (past) or whether they are appropriate for their Front Stage (present situation). Creative solutions and executive function thinking then have a base for creating more reflective strategies in the student’s mind.


Example lesson: (1 to 2 class periods with teacher choices and flexibility. This can work well with existing curriculum).


Opening Concept: Teacher introduces the Innertainment concept of Power Potential which includes the Power Types and Power Uses that drive a person’s actions. Integral Innertainment Motivator: Teacher shows a film clip from the Innertainment Resources library that is an example of a celebrity who has moved his/her original Centerpoint in a positive direction by using a broader and more integral method of emotional and cognitive thinking (ex; Le Bron James).  The class analyzes this celebrity’s power shift according to the Power Styles grid. Teacher can compare this progression in thinking to any character from literature or history that is currently part of the class curriculum. Triggers:  Teacher uses the Innertainment Future Focus lesson to teach the concept of Triggers (stimuli and events that have the potential to create negative emotional reactions from a person’s Backstage or past) and in create higher levels of toxic time that distract and pull the student away from their focus and full learning potential. Innertainment film clip: Teacher shows a film clip chosen from the Innertainment resources that depicts a character in a film “going off” uncontrollably, even though the situation does not call for such an exaggerated response. (Example: Schwartzenegger: Kindergarten Cop)  The teachers leads the class in an analysis of how the trigger might have been related to the character’s past experiences or beliefs about himself/herself or about other people, etc. The emphasis here is on the triggering event and the part of the character’s past history that is “triggered” by the event. Centerpoint and Future Focus: Teacher leads the class in discussing how that character might change his/here response by thinking reflectively and then use a different Power Style to approach the situation differently. The emphasis is not on what the character has a right to feel but on the creative, powerful Future Thinking that can result in a more effective and powerful reflective outcome.


The 5 Step P.A.U.S.E.

The 5 Step P.A.U.S.E. is demonstrated and taught to the students to provide a practical tool to work through conflict using entertainment examples to solidify the key points and illustrate the method. P—Prepare: Teacher explains research on how breathing can slow emotional Triggers. The class learns the P of the 5 Step P.A.U.S.E.  A discussion of an individual’s inner characters and how just stopping to concentrate on breathing may help to shift focus inward and provide a basis for slower and more reflective creative thought. A-Attune: Teacher explains that breathing alone is not enough and won’t result in a powerful future outcome. Teacher demonstrates the A, Attune stage of the 5 Step P.A.U.S.E. including the 3 streams of information. (body, feelings, thoughts) that students can become aware of. U-Unlearn: Teacher explains how responding to old Triggers from the past keep the “old stories” and inner dialog in place and on “autopilot” until they can be recognized and a new and expanded Power Style can be used. Examples of celebrities and film strips of limited and expanded power styles can be compared and used to make the point that each of us have many ways to gain power and to effectively use it. Innertainment film clip: A specific film clip is used to discuss what possible inner dialog or self talk from the past might be in the character’s Thought Stream that is leading to toxic time and to the negative emotional response (Example: Schwartzenegger: Kindergarten Cop). that is illustrated in the film clip. S-Shift  Teacher explains how the character’s Power Style can be modified through their Point of Power and by substituting a different “story” and accompanying inner dialog. Students are asked to discuss what new type of inner dialog would lead to a different response outcome for the character. E-Elevation:  Teacher reinforces SOURCE (full potential) breathing as in the introductory P phase of 5 Step P.A.U.S.E. and reminds students that if they can remember to change their breathing, it is always the first and last step in changing their Point of Power, along with changing their ability to move from a past time perspective to a present and future time perspective.


Day 2 Follow Up Lesson

A Day in the Future: (can be done during the next class period or over time). In this lesson, students write about one day in their future. They imagine that they are now 30 years old, living in their ideal place with their ideal people surrounding them. They must start the activity by hearing the alarm clock, putting on Google Glasses from their nightstand, and describing every detail that is being filmed through their glasses throughout their future day. This lesson contains analytical questions which move to creative, reflective thought processes about the students’ desired future. Present-Future Circles: The student’s Present-Future profile is based on research showing that people whose present lives contain many elements of their future, idealize their inner selves and plan their life goals with greater wisdom. This also compares behavioral actions in both the present and in the future. The above is just one example mini-lesson from the Innertainment Program. ALTERNATIVE SUMMARY APPROACH The Innertainment Program helps shift students into “future thinking” through recognition of their internal dialogue, time perspective, and executive function thought processes. Without Executive Function Thinking, human beings do not have:


  • The ability to control impulsivity.
  • Flexible thinking open to learning about their own thinking or new possibilities.
  • The ability to move past working memory (short term) into the long-term memory required for higher level reflection.


All Innertainment strategies and curriculum build students’ abilities teach metacognition in order  to shift out of “triggered” or negative past thinking into analyzing situations and goals within a future perspective. Once a student understands and learns these techniques, then teachers and counselors have a shared knowledge base for discussing times when a student’s actions or behaviors seem inappropriate for the situation. Students will have the ability to:


  • Slow down their reactive emotions.
  • Recognize when negative “Triggers” are arising from their Backstage (past), and  analyze whether they are appropriate or “the truth” in the present time situation.
  • Draw upon examples from the entertainment world, used in teaching the program, of individuals who successfully shifted from being controlled by their past Triggers to becoming a director their lives by moving into future thinking.
  • Generate creative solutions using new “Power Potentials” and executive function thinking.


Innertainment  uses entertainment, a powerful medium surrounding adolescents today, to open identification and offer a way to observe one’s behavior from a safe, neutral place. Once this happens, students are open to learning about the impact of Past, Present, and Future Thinking and their own Power Potentials.