Thursday, August 31, 2006

Learning Styles in the Kitchen

Have you ever wondered how analytic and holistic people differ when it comes to baking a cake? To begin with, an analytic person will need a recipe... and not just any recipe.

The other day, I tried to give my so-called-recipe for muffins to a highly analytic person.
“What do you mean by whatever fruit you have?” she asked suspiciously.
“I mean, whatever. Frozen blueberries, fresh blueberries, chopped kiwi fruit, diced apple, or a mixture. They all work.”
“But how can you say to always add a cup of fruit if it’s different fruit every time? Frozen blueberries will take up more room than chopped kiwifruit, so the ratio of fruit to batter will be different.”

A holistic person will happily substitute all bran flour with white flour if they run out of all bran, and if they don’t know what “broil” means, they will improvise.

A tactile person will stick their finger into the dish long before it’s ready. They will prefer to knead the bread dough by hand, foregoing the expensive electric appliances.

A visual person will decorate the pie with crust cut-offs, the muffins with little cherries and the plates with sprigs or parsley.

Now, if you’re familiar with the Learning Styles Analysis on our website,, you might like to answer the following questions:
· What type of personality will hum as they’re cooking?
· What Learning Style type will line up all the ingredients on the bench top before they begin cooking?
· Who is least likely to want to use measuring cups?
· Who likes help in the kitchen while they’re cooking?
· Who is most likely to clean up afterwards?

Are you and your spouse / partner / flat mate compatible in the kitchen? What cooking arrangements do you have and do they work for you? Write a comment to this blog and let us know, or do the test on to find out.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Why “Creative” Learning?

People often ask us about the name of the company: why “Creative” Learning? Being a very good question, it doesn’t have a simple answer.

One reason for the name is to distinguish our method of learning (using Learning Styles) from “traditional” learning (traditional learning takes place in a brightly lit classroom, with the teacher at the blackboard and the pupils uncomfortable on hard chairs).

"Creative learning" also means: be creative when you learn, use learning tools to help you, have fun.

Some examples (and there are literally thousands) of learning using the Creative Learning approach include:

· making and using specific learning tools like electro-boards, flip chutes, wrap-arounds,
· playing a board game with a child to teach them to count,
· playing a board game with a child to teach them to recognise at a glance the visual patterns made by the dots on dice,
· becoming detectives for the day and taking a walk through the neighbourhood to find all the numbers "3" on the houses - great for kinesthetic children,
· making a gigantic letter A from cardboard, then cutting it up into jigsaw style pieces and putting it back together again (to teach the alphabet) - great for tactile children,
· playing bank or post office (using official forms) to practice writing / adding up,
· playing FlySwat to teach a foreign language: you write the vocabulary on the black board, give 2 children a fly swat each, then you call out a word and the first child to find the translation on the board gets to swat it - again, good kinesthetic fun.

What else can a teacher do, apart from finding out their own Teaching Style and their pupils’ Learning Styles (available from

· At the end of each lesson, let kinesthetic children throw a ball around or hit a balloon to one another as you call out one thing you remember from the lesson,
· For a geography lesson: let visual children paint and write a postcard from a pretend-holiday describing typical weather of that month, tourist attractions, cuisine, industry, farming,
· For a geography lesson: let kinesthetic children set up a drama play about their experience as tourists in a foreign country,
· For a geography lesson: let tactile children build a topographic map of the region using coloured clay.

Still stuck for ideas? Then please email me on and let me know the age group and the school subject you’re targeting, and we can brainstorm together.

Alternatively, please leave a comment on this blog.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Extended DISC Work Pair Analysis Report

· Are you considering setting up business with a friend?
· Are you going to work closely on a specific project with a team member?
· Is you company about to recruit somebody to work alongside an existing employee?

Work Pair Analysis is a tool used to determine how well two individuals can work together. While two similar DISC styles often get along well, their partnership amplifies not only their strengths, but also their weaknesses. As a result, their performance is not optimal.

The tool identifies the styles of the individuals, how the styles complement each other, and where
the behaviour gaps exist. It also provides a visual, easy to understand report about what the individuals should:
• remember,
• accept and
• practice
when working together.

Work Pair Analysis does not require the participants to complete another DISC questionnaire: it can be generated from the data set provided by your original responses.

To perform your Work Pair Analysis, please contact

Thursday, August 10, 2006

DISC Personality Assessment

Are you a D or an S? We’re talking about the DISC Personality Assessment, of course. DISC is a reliable way to gain insight into interpersonal relationships, work productivity, teamwork and communication, using a 4-dimensional model of behaviour.

D stands for Dominance: People who get high scores in this area enjoy dealing with problems and challenges. They are described as demanding, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, and pioneering. Low D scores describe those who are conservative, low keyed, cooperative, undemanding, cautious, mild, agreeable, modest and peaceful.

I is for Influence: “High I” people influence others through talking. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. Those with Low I scores influence more by data and facts, and not with feelings and are described as reflective, factual, calculating, sceptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact and critical.

S is for Steadiness: People with High S styles scores want a steady pace, security, and don't like sudden change. They are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. People with Low S scores are described as restless, demonstrative, impatient, eager, or even impulsive.

C stands for Conscientiousness: Those with High C scores adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High C people are cautious, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate and tactful. Those with Low C scores challenge the rules and want independence and are described as stubborn, opinionated, unsystematic and careless with details.

Comprising 24 multiple-choice questions, this quick fun test is available in paper or online versions from Creative Learning Systems ( Are you Analytical and Concerned, or a Good Listener and Sympathetic? Find out today by sending an email to for more details.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Single Sex Education

“By almost every benchmark and across every demographic group, boys are falling behind at school.”

This statement was made about the shape of education in America last year, but it’s equally valid in most parts of the globe. Whereas fifty years ago the education system advantaged boys, nowadays it measures academic success in a way that seems to benefit girls.

For some strange reason, the solution of choice appears to be single-sex education. Journalist Christine Flowers put it as follows: “males and females should mix at parties, at sporting events and in holy matrimony, but that it's far too distracting to have a member of the opposite sex sitting in class beside you.”

I disagree.

School is a place where you learn many things: logarithms, Shakespeare, basketball, how to spit and how to stay out of trouble, how to make friends and how to hurt enemies. Learning how to deal with members of the opposite sex is an integral part of the beautiful process of learning, in the fullest sense of the word.
I know the statistics, about how girls in particular, but also boys, fare better in single-sex schools. I know that in New Zealand, some secondary schools are choosing to split boys and girls in subjects such as English, Maths and Science. In England, parents are choosing single-gender schools. In European countries where co-ed education has been the only mainstream option since the Second World War, private single-sex schools are mushrooming.

To all that I say: stop, think. Boys’ brains differ from girls’ brains, nobody can argue with that. Boys and girls are developmentally and psychologically different, true. And yet, it would be a gross error to generalise along the gender lines to say “all boys need mobility and a certain level of noise during the learning process, while all girls need to sit still in a quiet room in order to concentrate better.”
Teachers need to recognise it and learn how to bring out the best in everyone, and Learning Style Analysis ( is the best place to start. That’s where teachers find out whether their pupils need visual stimuli or kinesthetic activities, brightly lit rooms or a sip of water, external rewards or rigid guidelines, early morning tests or background music, in order to learn to the best of their potential.

STOP PRESS: “Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm announced in July 2006 that she had signed the first bill on the way to allowing single-sex education in Michigan.”
How many pupils in Michigan have had their Learning Styles assessed, I wonder.