Thursday, December 27, 2007

Learning Styles and Stereotypes

Your learning style dictates the way in which you understand and remember new concepts. The learning style will also determine the way
you communicate, work and socialise.

No wonder, then, that many people hope to generalise learning styles and classify them into familiar labels. Some of the questions you may have encountered in your learning styles journey may include:

· Are men more analytic than women?
· Are women better at communication?
· Are left-handers more artistic?
· What about tactile people and art skills?
· Do we become less holistic as we grow up?
· Is there a learning style more prevalent in either sex?

While the popular bestseller “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” offers many useful insights into how the two genders deal with stress (insights that correspond to certain elements of learning styles), there is no confirmed research that suggests either gender is more analytic in the learning style sense.

The only thing we can say with confidence is that a disproportionately many artists are left-handed and women indeed tend to prefer warmer temperatures (see Environment Elements in the Learning Style Pyramid)!

Why are generalisations so difficult when it comes to learning styles? One of the reasons is that with 49 elements to choose from, the number of possible learning style combinations is a whopping...

Furthermore, the jury is still out on what makes “a perfect manager” (is it a people’s person or somebody who can enforce deadlines?) - or a “natural artist” (it’s not enough to be tactile, you must also be visual and have a high persistence) - or “athletic talent”.

Besides, learning style analysis is not about labelling: it’s about the fascinating discovery of the way you operate.

To analyse your learning style, have a look at this free online demo.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

12 reasons to make this Christmas a Learning Styles Christmas

A learning style is the way in which an individual learns (in other words, understands and remembers) new concepts. Here is why that’s important:

1. Because they are fun.
2. Learning Styles help you understand your own or your children's learning needs and remove barriers to fulfilling the learning potential. Use this holiday break to ensure learning success in your household.
3. Understanding your Learning Style empowers you and leads to better self-esteem.
4. Knowing the Learning Styles of your family and friends helps you understand all their annoying little habits like chewing their nails or daydreaming.
5. Learning Styles are more than the way you learn. They also dictate the way you communicate. When you know your own learning style, as well as the learning style of those around you, it’ll be easier to prevent misunderstandings.
6. Learning Styles are responsible for the way your partner or spouse handles stress - find out how to deal with them “in style”.
7. Did you know that Learning Styles help you predict whether your guests will be on time for the Christmas dinner?
8. How you plan this season’s presents, menu and outfit - whether you plan it with lists or leave it to the last minute wave of spontaneity - is also thanks to your own unique Learning Style.
9. Your Cooking Style. If you run out of brandy for the eggnog or forget to follow the recipe for the turkey stuffing, simply blame your Learning Style.
10. Your Learning Style = Your Romance Style too. Remember it under the mistletoe.
11. Feeling like spending this season online? Take care - your Learning Style may make you more susceptible to Internet fraud.
12. Because this season is about caring and sharing, and giving a Learning Style Analysis from Prashnig Style Solutions will achieve both.

To find out your Learning Style, have a look at this free online demo.

Here’s wishing you a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Learning Styles, Working Styles and Stress

Stress is such an everyday part of our lives, we often fail to recognise it. For example, did you know that the following are classified as stressors (elements that can lead to stress)?

· Bright light or uncomfortable air temperature.
· Project deadlines.
· Lack of control over environmental conditions.
· Social circumstances, such as working in a team when you are a loner or being alone when you crave company.
· Responsibility for your future or for the wellbeing of others.

Our products, Learning Styles Analysis (LSA) and Working Style Analysis (WSA), recognise the significance of these elements. In the evaluation report of your own unique working or learning styles, you will find references to light, temperature, deadlines, environment, responsibility, and much more.

To find out your own style and help you identify the stressors in your life,
have a look at this free online demo of LSA or WSA.

Wikipedia defines stress as: “the condition that results when person-environment transactions lead the individual to perceive a discrepancy, whether real or not, between the demands of a situation and the resources of the person's biological, psychological or social systems”.

In other words, if the demands of your learning style or working style are continually not met, you will experience stress.

Your learning style dictates the way in which you understand and remember new concepts. Your working style is the optimal way for you to concentrate at work. Both determine the way in which you deal with a stressful situation.

Get your LSA or WSA today!

Fact: Stress is the body's reaction to a change.
Fact: Today’s fast-paced world provides us with an oxymoron: constant change.
Fact: Successful people don’t need stress to help them achieve their goals.
Fact: Long-term stress can be detrimental to your health.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Your Learning Style and Learning Facts

What is more important: knowing facts or knowing how to find facts? What competencies and knowledge do our children need to be successful in the 21st century?

New Zealand’s government believes it has the answer in the form of a new curriculum, which “represents a shift away from focusing on knowing facts and figures to knowing also how to use knowledge effectively and apply it outside the classroom."

As an idealistic idea, it’s not a bad one. Why cram your brain with dates and formulae, which you can look up in the textbook or on the Internet? Why memorise concepts you don’t necessarily understand or know how to apply in your decision-making? Intelligence and school success should not be measured with, or equated to, the ability to memorise. Do away with learning by rote and replace it with teaching our children to think, right?

On the other hand, as somebody pointed out to me:

The shift away from learning facts is a bit of a worry. You wouldn't want to be left hanging in the middle of something (like surgery) to wait while the doctor quickly nipped into an Internet chat room to check how to stop your bleeding.

Whether you believe that it’s facts or the global overview that is the most important, is - naturally - dictated by your own unique Learning Style. If you like detailed information, you are most likely an analytic thinker. If, however, you value an overview above all else and consider particulars much less important, you are probably a holistic thinker.

Are you an analytic or a global thinker?
To find out your own or your child’s learning style,
have a look at this
free online demo.

Traditionally, schools have been geared towards analytic teaching and learning. New Zealand is trying to move away from that in favour of a less factual education system. If that means accommodating students whose information processing is non-sequential, while at the same time retaining the stimulation for sequentially-thinking students, that can only be a good thing.

Meanwhile, in the latest New Zealand education news, a furious debate broke out over a Level 3 Geography exam question (this equates to Year 13 and University Entrance can be gained by successfully completing NCEA Level 3). Five photographs (of images such as a park to a city's central business district) were shown, and students had to explain how each image could be viewed from a feminist perspective.

Some people consider it a wonderful question that allows students to think outside the square, others see it as an opinion-based non-factual question with a built-in advantage towards girls.

Have your say here. Leave a comment.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Learning Styles and Illiteracy

Globally, illiteracy is becoming one of the most prominent social pains of the 21st century. While in developing countries the problem is chiefly the lack of teachers, schools and teaching aids; the problem in the West is the overabundance of technology.

In a world where television, computers and cell phones reign supreme, books are taking a distant second place. Even SMS or email no longer resembles the written word, with shortcuts and phonics such as: “GTG PAW c u 2nite”.

Of course, struggling to read may have its roots in health issues such as vision problems or dyslexia.

More often than not, however, if a child has access to food, school and books - yet they have not acquired the ability to read, the problem may lie in their Learning Style.

Your child’s learning style dictates the way in which he or she understands and remembers new concepts. The learning style will also determine the way they learn to read.

If your child is not visual, for example, they will have no natural curiosity about books. If they need mobility for their learning, sitting still with a book is an unnatural thing for them to do. If they are not left-brained, the idea of starting the book at one end and continuing in a linear fashion will be foreign and uncomfortable.

You can help!

A tactile child will benefit greatly from being allowed to handle the book and trace the words with their fingers. An externally auditory child will prefer to read the words out loud. And you can keep a kinesthetic child’s interest by asking them to act out the plot of the book as you read it together.

Is your child tactile or kinesthetic?

Of course, as with any new learning, learning to read should take place in an environment that’s tailor-made for that specific child’s learning needs. The Learning style Analysis (LSA) report shows parents exactly how to turn the learning area at home into a successful one.

To find out your child’s learning style, have a look at this free online demo.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Learning Styles and ADD

It is hard for parents to have their child diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder). It’s harder still to make the decision to put them on medication such as Ritalin.

So before you accept somebody’s ADD label as applicable to your unruly and impetuous child, who’s acting up in school and has trouble paying attention, here is a reality check.

· Most healthy children’s attention span is shorter than the sound of their name.
· Most healthy children are impetuous (spontaneous).
· Most healthy children are a handful and will misbehave regularly.

Of course, some children are noisier than others. Some children run around more and listen less. It all has to do with their own unique learning style.

A learning style is the way in which a child understands and remembers new concepts.

If your child needs mobility for learning, he will want to pace the classroom so as to better understand the lesson. An impulsive child will shout out an answer before she hears the end of the question, potentially earning a label of hot-headed or unthinking or attention-deficient. If your child is highly kinesthetic, she will not want to be stuck between the four walls of the classroom.

Moreover, if you child’s learning style is a mismatch with the school’s teaching style, and if he has a history of being misunderstood by the teachers, he may become rebellious and unruly.

Such children are at risk of being misdiagnosed with ADD.

To find out your child’s learning style, have a look at this free online demo.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Learning Styles 100

Did you know that there were at least 100 reasons to know your child’s learning style? To conserve space, however, we will mention only the top 10:
1. Your child’s learning style is the optimal way in which she understands new concepts.
2. A learning style consists of learning needs that should be met in order to ensure learning success.
3. A learning style also consists of learning non-preferences which - when violated - can lead to the child’s lack of interest in new material, failure to progress and disrespect for teachers and the school system.
4. Your child’s learning style can tell you whether she is a gifted student or an underachiever.
5. It can alert you to her likely behaviour on the Internet.
6. It can predict whether your child will be likely to develop a smoking habit.
7. It provides indicators as to whether the child could be in danger of becoming overweight.
8. Understanding your child’s learning style helps you turn homework into home-fun.
9. It helps your child build her self-awareness and increase her self-esteem.
10. It helps prevent misunderstandings and communication gaps.

That's only 10 out of 100 good reasons to purchase a LSA for your child.

Speaking of the number 100, it’s hard to believe that this is our 100th blog post. We’d like you to celebrate the centenary with us, and what better way than to make it possible for you to discover your child’s learning style?

This is why we are extending this special offer to you: buy a Learning Style Analysis (LSA) Mini Complete before the end of November 2007, and we will throw in the Learning Style Manual as a free bonus to the first 100 people who respond.

All you need to do in order to claim your gift is enter this code when purchasing your LSA MINI Complete online: 4CE6WPB.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Learning Styles and Lesson Planning

As a teacher, you will be undoubtedly familiar with the idea of Learning Styles (the individual sets of needs and impediments which make up the way students learn). You will probably have used our LSA instruments and free group profiles to assess the learning styles prevailing in your class.

In other words, you will now know which of your students will be most responsive to external awards, what time of day to tackle new concepts and how to arrange your students into study groups. You will know when to present the global picture and when to concentrate on details of the material. You will know which of your students respond best to open-ended exam questions.

But planning every lesson in a way that allows for multi-sensory stimulation requires some consideration and a lot of creativity. In general, you can use the following guidelines, no matter what your subject and syllabus:
- kinesthetic students will benefit from field trips, acting out the lesson, dancing to memorise facts and moving their bodies (for example, forming letters with their arms will help them memorise their shape);
- tactile students will benefit from projects that involve making learning tools and models of new concepts with their hands (for example, a model of a cosine curve shaped out of clay, colouring in a map);
- internally visual students will need to imagine themselves inside the lesson’s topic (for example, in a microscopic boat travelling inside a person’s body when learning biology, or taking part in the Russian Revolution);
- externally auditory students will need to discuss the material with their peers, write and recite a poem about the new topic or explain the lesson to their younger siblings.

For more ideas on how to plan your lessons according to your students’ learning style needs and non-preferences, please refer to our LSA Manual.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Learning Styles and Learning Difficulties

  • Is your child bored at school?
  • Does homework become a daily battlefield?
  • Has the teacher ever mentioned that your child tends to be disruptive or undisciplined in class?
  • Are your child’s school results a poor reflection on the child’s intelligence and ability?
  • Has your child been diagnosed with ADD (ADHD) and you feel uncomfortable with that diagnosis?
  • Is your child’s reading level below expectation?
  • Is maths difficult?

    If you said ‘yes’ to any of the above points, your child may be experiencing a mismatch between her learning style and the way in which the school is teaching the curriculum.

    Your learning style dictates the way in which you understand and remember new concepts.

    Some of the factors that affect your child’s learning style, and therefore her learning success, include:
    * Her need for snacking during the learning process
    * The amount of real or artificial light in the room
    * The presence (or absence) of background noise in the room
    * Your child’s need for adult supervision or for learning in a group
    * Your child’s preferred sense or senses for information intake
    * … and many others.

    Ultimately, if your child’s learning style needs are not satisfied, she will experience learning difficulties. She may become unenthusiastic about learning new things, her self-confidence will plunge (she may start to believe she is ‘stupid’ or ‘slow’), her attitude may become rebellious or apathetic.

    To find out your child’s learning style, have a look at this free online demo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Learning Styles and Your Career

Calling all Teenagers - Second-Timers Welcome!

Your career choice is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. Whether you are 16 or 46, you want to ensure that the job you’ll be doing for the next few years, 8 hours a day (at least), 5 days a week, is something that you can be passionate about and something that suits your own individual Learning Style or Working Style.

Every person has his or her unique learning style: some of us want visual props like photos and diagrams, others prefer listening to a taped lecture, others still will pace up and down the room in order to understand the new material better.

Similarly, we are also poles apart when it comes to the way we work: some of us tackle one task at a time and keep at it until it’s finished, while others prefer working on several things at the same time.

All these different preferences are called your Learning Style. And the thing is, they can be measured by applying a Learning Style Analysis (LSA).

It’s an online questionnaire and takes about 10 minutes to complete. As soon as you answer the questions, you receive a report with your own personal learning profile.

(You can find a free demo of learning style analysis here.)

So how do you use the information contained in the profile?

It’s really simple. The profile will make recommendations as to which careers may or may not be suitable for you. For example, if you can’t stand routine, your profile will say something like: “As you love change, and enjoy trying out new things, you hardly ever do the same thing the same way twice. It is important that you take into account your strong need for variety and your love of change when you consider future career planning.”

If you’re a talker who needs people interaction, the profile will guide you as follows: “For your future career planning it is very important to consider jobs which require good communication skills and a lot of people involvement.”

Sometimes the profile will list your preferences and let you decide what to do with the information, without suggesting a specific career path. Let’s imagine that your report says: “You have very strong analytical skills when it comes to problem solving or brain storming, and you always tend to use your rational, left-brain style first. When something is neither logical nor proceeding sequentially, you are not really interested.” The report will not state explicitly that you should seek careers that require strong analytic skills.

Your Learning Style Analysis report will not tell you that you should become a lawyer or try to dissuade you from following your dream to be an actor.

What the report will do, however, is list your strengths, your flexibilities and your non-preferences. That knowledge will be priceless when you’re considering your first (or your tenth) career.

(The link to the free learning style analysis demo again: click here.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Learning Styles and Traditional Schools

Today’s typical classroom may look totally different to the one in which our parents learnt: it may have tables that are big enough for ten children (as opposed to desks for one or two), the seats may be arranged in a circle (as opposed to in rows), and the blackboard may be white.

Some things, however, don’t change. Today’s pupils are still required to rely heavily on their eyes in order to take in information. The information may come from a textbook, a movie, an overhead projector or a demonstration of a science experiment - all of which are highly visual sources.

Similarly, when it comes to checking the child’s knowledge, it is usually done in a visual way: written homework, homework that involves reading or drawing, written tests.

This is why it’s crucial to know your child’s learning style. If they are highly visual, especially if combined with auditory, you can rest easy knowing that the learning material is presented to them in an optimal way. Of course, you still need to make sure that they are motivated and that other elements of their learning style are accommodated (sound, temperature, structure, the level of detail, social needs, and so on)... and you still have to check their eyes regularly to make sure they are up to the learning task.

If your child is not visual, however, they will probably struggle in a traditional school. While of course respecting their unique learning preferences, it’ll be a good idea to teach them some techniques that allow them to cope with the very visual world around us.

Some of the techniques include:
· Encourage your child to look at objects in greater detail: ask them to describe what they see at a first glance and what they see when they look again for a longer period of time.
· Play “spot the difference” puzzles and “Where is Wally”?
· Practice reading paragraphs of text together, then visualising it as a movie.
· Ask them to close their eyes and tell you what colour clothes you’re wearing.
· Do jigsaw puzzles together, particularly those that rely on utilising observation skills.
· Make a game out of watching people in the street, in the café, in the mall.
· At the supermarket, look at the shelves together and count the varieties of cereal, dried fruit and cheese.
· Organise treasure hunts (in the garden or the family room) that rely on observation skills alone. Let the “treasures” stick out or bulge out just a little, and encourage the children to find them with their eyes, not hands.

You can find a free demo of learning style analysis here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Learning Style + Teaching Style = Perfect Match

A learning style is the child’s preferred way of learning new things.
A teaching style is the teacher’s preferred way of imparting knowledge.

Have you ever wondered why it’s so important that the teacher’s teaching style should match the student’s learning style?

Just consider this recent (actual) news clip from Reuters:
“It's official: Your toddler is smarter than a chimp, at least at some things! In one social learning test, a researcher showed the children and apes how to pop open a plastic tube to get food or a toy contained inside. The children observed and imitated the solution. Chimpanzees and orangutans, however, tried to smash open the tube or yank out the contents with their teeth.”

Now compare the story above to the following (fictional) news clip that could have made headlines somewhere in a science-fiction universe:
“It's official: A chimp toddler is smarter than a human, at least at some things! In one social learning test, a researcher showed the subjects how to smash open a plastic tube containing food or a toy, or to yank out the tube’s contents with their teeth. The chimpanzee toddlers observed and imitated the solutions. The human subjects, however, tried to pop open the tube with their fingers.”

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

To read an article about learning styles, please click here.
To find out more about teaching styles, please have a look here.

A quick disclaimer: the above illustration is not meant to be derogatory to humans, apes, teachers or students in any way whatsoever.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Learning Styles - How Your Child Learns Best

Learning Styles allow you to find out how your child learns best. When it comes to learning about Christopher Columbus, for example, she may find it easiest and most enjoyable to:
· Read a factual book on the subject.
· Read a novel on the subject, with a lot of the contents fictionalised.
· See the movie “1492”.
· Visit a museum exhibition about sea voyages.
· Make a model of the ship.
· Direct, write or star in a play about Columbus.

And that’s not all. When and where and with whom are also important choices when it comes to absorbing new information. Your child might like working alone or with friends, in the morning or the evening, in a quiet or busy spot.

To find out more, please visit Creative Learning and Prashnig Style Solutions and take the tour.

Did you know that...
.... your child's learning style affects more than just her grades?

· It also determines how she plays sport, forms friendships and communicates her emotions.
· It influences what she does for fun in her spare time and how safe she is on the Internet.
· It is a good indicator of whether - as a teenager - she will find it easy to say no to cigarettes, drugs and other dangerous activities.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Re-Train your Brain with Learning Styles

What if... you could influence your environment?
What if... you could think your way into being healthy or happy or successful?
What if... changing your mind could change your destiny?

That’s exactly what Dr Joe Dispenza (from the movie What The Bleep Do We Know!?) is promising in his books and seminars.

Dr Dispenza’s personal story reflects his doctrine. After a serious accident when he was twenty-three years old, he was left with a multiple-fractured vertebrae. he decided against surgery and literally thought his way to a full recovery in just 3 months. Amazed by the power of the human mind, he set out to learn more about the mind-body connection and the potential of the brain.

He discovered that the human brain is neuro-plastic: it can change its synaptic wiring by learning information and b recording experiences. This plasticity allows us to evolve our actions and modify our behaviour so that we are successful. The best way to retain this neuro-plasticity is to learn new things and make new memories, thus causing the brain to fire in new patterns and combinations. To change your mindset, you must make new neurons in your brain by repeating a thought or action over and over again until it becomes so effortless, it’s subliminal.

Now, because your environment is an extension of your mind, postulates Dr Dispenza, it stands to reason that if you change your mindset, you will change your environment.

A very simple manifestation of that is a smile. If you make yourself smile for no reason at all, you will feel happy (you’ve now changed your mindset). Moreover, you will make others smile back at you quite subconsciously, thus making them happier (now you’ve changed your environment). If you were to practice that for eight hours every day, what do you suppose the results would be?

According to Dr Dispenza, to change your fate you should:
1. Believe in a higher power.
2. Stop shifting the blame for your circumstances.
3. Visualise the outcome you desire daily (in other words, in your mind, you practice being the person you want to become).
4. Move out of the way and let the higher power arrange the result.

Of course, some people are better at change than others. Some have natural visualisation skills. Some may even be too goal-oriented to be able to relinquish control to the higher power.

Does your learning style stand in the way of change? To find out, please click here.

Quoted from "What the Bleep"...

"So, if we're consciously designing our destiny, if we're consciously, from a spiritual standpoint, throwing in the idea that our thoughts can affect our reality or affect our life, because reality equals life..., then, I have this little pact that I have when I create my day."

"I say to myself, I'm taking this time to create my day, and I'm infecting the Quantum Field. Now, if it is in fact [infecting my/the energy field], the Observer's watching me the whole time that I'm doing this, and there is a spiritual aspect to myself. Then, show me a sign today, that you paid attention to any one of these things that I created, and bring them in a way that I won't expect."

Friday, September 21, 2007

Learning Style - “Help, my child is impulsive!”

Does your child prefer to give a quick answer rather than a correct answer? Is her mind very quick? Does it constantly create new ideas?

If that’s the case, it’s possible that your child’s learning style is impulsive. She might have difficulties concentrating and staying focused on her schoolwork, she might get easily distracted from doing homework or paying attention to a task for a length of time.

For an impulsive child to thrive at school, she needs an understanding teacher who’s willing to accommodate her thinking style by allowing the child to answer in her preferred quick way and not discouraging her when she gets the answer wrong.

Fast-paced, short and challenging assignments suit an impulsive child’s thinking style best. A method that often works with impulsive children, is to ask them the question upfront and then tell them to find the answer in the textbook or in the classroom display cabinet (as opposed to telling them a lot of facts first and then asking questions about it). Asking one question at a time might also be a good way of keeping the child’s attention focused.

Another way may be to offer small rewards for every correct answer, thus motivating the child to become more flexible in their impulsive thinking style. Note: this will only work with externally motivated children (to find out more about your child’s motivation, please click here).

Either way, because impulsiveness is a biological trait, your child is not likely to change her thinking style very much as she grows older. To enhance her learning success in an environment that does not accept her impulsive style, she needs techniques for coping with being wrong some of the time, or with being labelled somebody who doesn’t think before they speak. You can help her by making her understand that this impulsiveness is simply part of her learning style, and not the person she is.

In any case, in today’s fast-paced society, it’s not always a bad thing to be impulsive. Sometimes a quick decision that’s not perfect may be better than a perfect decision that comes too late.

Did you know?
Impulsive decision-making is just one of 48 elements that make up your child’s learning style. To determine the other elements, analyse your child’s learning style here with our free demo.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Learning Styles / Working Styles and The Communication Gap

Whether you are a system architect, a business analyst or a manager, part of your job description is communication with other team members. And, of course, the way you communicate will reflect your inherent Learning or Working Style.
If, for example, you are an auditory person, chances are, you’ll be reaching for a phone in order to communicate. But if you are a visual or tactile thinker, your first instinct will be to compose an email.

If you tend to think sequentially, you will start your communiqué at the beginning and include many pertinent details. If your approach is holistic, however, you will most likely start at the end with the goal or the objective, follow it with an overview or summary and not go into any details.

So far, so good. You are communicating in the way that is optimal for you, thus allowing you to express yourself best. The problem, however, comes when your phone call or email is received at the other end... because your team member’s Working Style (and thus their communication style) may not be compatible with yours.

All in all, there are close to 50 elements that make up your personal working style, and about half of them have a direct bearing on the way in which you communicate with others. We’ve already discussed the visual-auditory and the sequential-holistic disparities. Others include:
· Time of day (some people tend to think better first thing in the morning, others do not).
· Setting (formal or informal - they both mean different things to different people and can make them feel uneasy).
· Mobility (some people think better when literally on their feet).
· Light (the lighting in the room should vary according to the needs of the individuals. It really is a myth that brighter light is better. People who prefer dimmer lighting find bright fluorescent light stressful and bothersome.)
· Background noise (to some people, a silent environment is the only way to work, but others may feel energised by the friendly hum of a busy office or by quiet music.)
· Speed (is the person you’re speaking to somebody who likes to make quick decisions, or do they need time to reflect on what you’d said).
· Content (is humour going to be appreciated? Should you use a real-life example or an anecdote? Is a list a good idea? Bullet points? Graphs and pictures? Are you better off with a set of slides or one really good physical model of what you’re trying to convey?)

One Working Style is not better than another and that there is no optimal communication style. It’s not true that those who communicate in a sequential fashion communicate better than those who prefer the holistic way, for example. What’s true is that those who prefer communicating in a sequential fashion will communicate better in a sequential fashion than in a holistic one, and will respond better to somebody who can speak their sequential language.

To find out more about your working style, please click here.

So how does one turn Working Styles into a business outcome?
After responding to a series of statements about yourself, you will receive a report that identifies your particular strengths, flexibilities and non-preferences. This will help you recognise and control the elements that can enhance your productivity and fulfilment at work.
Some elements you’ll be able to change yourself (keep your desk tidy, get a desk lamp, invest in ear plugs), others will need your manager’s approval (scheduling of important meetings to a time that’s productive for most of the team, taking work home to think it over in the evening).
The most important advantage, however, will come from your self-awareness. If you realise that you prefer to communicate in points, and you’re trying to gather information that’s new to you, number your questions when you email them to your colleagues, and ask them to respond in point form.
Of course, if a colleague is seeking information from you, the polite (and smart) thing to do is to respond to him in the style that he or she prefers, be it email, face to face, bullet points or overviews.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Learning Styles and TV

Recent research results, published in “Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine”, suggest that allowing children to watch TV and play video games could pose a major threat to their health. This is not only because of the indoor, passive and sedentary nature of the two pastimes, but also because of the contents.

For example, among teenagers raised in sexually conservative backgrounds, watching two or more hours of TV per day made it significantly more likely for the teen to engage in sexual activities than their non-TV watching peers exposed to the same upbringing.

Furthermore, playing a violent video game seems to increase a child’s general disregard for their own safety of and the safety of others, thus making teenagers more likely to try drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex or driving under the influence.

But what about educational DVDs and games? We, at Creative Learning, accept that TV and computer games - when used correctly - play a role in education. If a child’s learning style indicated preferences for computer-learning or visual learning with pictures, we strongly encourage parents to include that method in the child’s education.

Do you know whether e-learning, computer games and educational videos are suitable to your child’s learning style? To find out, please click here.

But what about babies and preschoolers who are too young to have their learning style analysed? The accepted wisdom is to teach your toddlers using a multi-sensory approach, which includes all of the stimuli listed below:
· Tactile (allowing them to explore shapes and texture - wool, foam, grass, water, sand, silk - with their hands, feet, and the skin on the rest of their bodies);
· Kinesthetic (running, jumping, climbing, balancing, trips to the zoo or the museum);
· Auditory (listening to music, songs, poems, stories);
· Visual (books, videos, watching the nature outside, watching family activities).

Again, a word of caution here about videos. University of Seattle, Washington, conducted a study into the popular Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby series of educational videos aimed at improving the vocabularies of babies and toddlers. The researches were dismayed to discover that children who watch such DVDs usually know fewer keywords than those who don’t.
Could it be that their learning style preferences are showing early? Or is the two-dimensional TV screen simply not a good visual medium for babies or toddlers? Or perhaps babies who watch DVDs have less time to interact with their primary educators, the parents?

As with everything else, moderation is the key.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Learning Styles - How Your Learning Style Can Make You Feel Sleepy

If you know a little about learning styles and working styles, you will know that learning and working in a style that clashes with your own unique preferences will - inevitably - make you feel stressed and tired.

However, recent research indicates that the problem goes a lot deeper than that. Dr Nakamori Suganuma, of Osaka University, Japan, and a lead researcher into the issue, discovered that people who spend more pre-bedtime hours using the Internet or watching television are more likely to report that they don't get enough sleep.

This is even though they sleep as long (or almost as long) as people who spend fewer pre-bedtime hours in front of a computer or television screen, because longer Internet and television use before bedtime did not correlate with getting less actual sleep.

The research, therefore, implies that electronic media have an effect on sleep demand and sleep quality, either making the users THINK they’ve had too little sleep whereas in fact they may have had enough, or causing the users to need more sleep than those who don’t use computers and TV in the pre-bedtime hours.

So, what does that have to do with learning styles? Quite simply, your learning style will often dictate how much TV you will watch and how long you will spend on the computer. If you are predisposed towards e-learning, for example, chances are, you will spend more time on the computer than somebody who is not.

Also, learning styles are responsible - to a large extent - for determining WHEN you will use the computer and watch TV, particularly for work and learning purposes.

To find out what your learning style is and whether it might be responsible for making you crave more sleep, please click here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Learning Styles: is your child too tired to learn?

Many children fail to achieve their potential at school because they run low on energy. Often, this is a direct result of mismatched learning styles, in other words, your child learns in a way that’s not accommodated at their school.

We all have an optimal way in which to absorb new and difficult concepts. If we are continually introduced to new ideas in a way that’s not the best for us, we will experience stress and fatigue. What’s more, when we are taught in a way that’s incompatible with our learning style, we will often fail to learn at all.

Many aspects constitute a person’s individual learning style: the time of day, the learning group, the way in which the information is presented (visually or orally), whether the teacher is using details or using the big picture, how bright the classroom light is, how warm the environment, how strict the structure - to mention just a few. Change but one of those elements into something that interferes with your child’s learning style, and the child will have to expand more energy in order to concentrate on his or her learning.

If you think your child’s learning style may be different to the traditional learning style expected at most places of learning, here is a scientifically researched way of finding out for sure:

In addition to accommodating your child’s learning style, here are a few tips to help them replenish their energy levels:
· A nutritious low GI breakfast,
· Lunchbox packed with low GI snacks,
· Drinks plenty of water,
· Enough sleep at night,
· Keeping physically fit,
· Doing energising exercises (please contact us to find out more about them).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Learning Style Homework Tips

Learning Style Homework Tips

Homework can be a tricky area for parents. How do you prevent it from turning into a battlefield? Learning styles, in particular the learning style of your child, holds many of the answers.

Children, especially holistic children, need to know why they have to do homework. What’s the benefit of doing something at home that you’ve just done in class? How does homework fit into the general scheme of their education? Explain to your children that homework is important to reinforce skills that have been taught at school. It also gives teachers a chance to monitor the students’ progress. If the children allow it, homework can also be a great way to learn to work independently!
Analytic children, on the other hand, probably aren’t as interested in the big picture. If they refuse to do homework, it’s probably because the task at hand seems too big and they have trouble breaking it into manageable details. Help them organise the work into step-by-step portions and sub-tasks. Create a list of all the things that have to be done that day and let the child tick them off as they go along.
If you’re not sure whether your child is holistic or analytic, please take the quick test by clicking on this link:

Bear in mind that you need to set up an appropriate environment and atmosphere for doing homework. Setting aside a specific place to do homework is a good idea (please see the tips on how to create an optimal study environment), but again, for some children this may be a quiet corner, while for others it could be the family room with the music on and papers strewn everywhere. Also, children who thrive on variety (see their LSA results) might like the study area moved or redecorated several times a month.

Some children like to have parents involved in their school life and in their homework. This doesn’t mean that parents do the work that their children are supposed to do - showing interest in what your child is learning at present and what their assignment involves may be enough. Your child might like you to give them a quick test at the end to see that they’ve understood the work. Other children, however, may have a different learning style, one that is conducive to working without parental supervision.

Setting a specific time for doing homework works well if you can tailor it to your children’s “time of day” preference based on their LSA results, but you have to be realistic about what you have available: if your child’s preference is for early morning learning, this will usually clash with the school’s timetable during the week, and you might not want to pile every weekend morning with homework!

If your child has a strong preference for morning learning, and a strong non-preference for afternoon and evening learning, you might have to discuss this with the teacher. Show them the child’s LSA report and ask how you can work together to combat the homework blues.

To check your children’s LSA results, here is that link again:

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Learning Styles and Stress Management

Think “childhood”, and phrases such as “carefree”, “long summer days”, “doing nothing” or “fun” will instantly spring to mind. However, nothing can be further from the truth for the current generation of school-goers. In certain parts of the world, even preschoolers feel the pressure to achieve, and thus to secure a place in a reputable private education institution.

Some schools cite education and achievement as their top values. Others prefer to concentrate on learning through fun, treating every child as an individual with a unique learning style, and offering an all-rounded learning option that includes as much dancing as it does arithmetic.

The world out there is tough and competitive. Do you shelter your children and let them enjoy life as long as they can, or do you start grooming them for the rat race in kindergarten? That’s the choice that every parent has to make individually.

Meanwhile, if you think that your child is feeling stressed, their own learning style can give you a clue as to how to help them. Highly analytic children will want to retreat and solve the problem by themselves, while highly holistic children will want to discuss the issue with you. To find out how to deal with your child’s stress, please analyse their learning style on

Some ideas that might also appeal to your child include:
1. Listening to music with a beat that is slower than their heart rate.
2. Taking a walk together - a forest or a beach will work particularly well.
3. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, mandarin or rose have a calming effect - you can burn them in the room if you have a burner or dab them directly onto the wrist.
4. A comforting healthy snack, like low-fat low-sugar apple pie or cocoa.
5. Distraction: ask your child what the best thing was that she saw or did today.

Just as prevention is better than cure in the area of physical health, so it is with stress. If your child does not thrive on achievement, it’s best not to push them. To check, do their Learning Style Analysis on

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Learning Styles and Maths

Mathematics is probably the only school subject that has a reputation for being “difficult”. Although most children of school-going age can count comfortably from one to ten, some of them will not understand that the rhyme onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineten actually refers to the action of counting, and they don’t know that “two” is more than “one” even if they understand that “two lollies in Jane’s hand” is more than “one lolly in my hand”.

Thus, some children begin their first lesson in Maths on a sour note of “I don’t understand” and “it’s too difficult”. And even if they manage to sail through the arithmetic side of things, there are things like Geometry to trip up those good at numbers.

Children with a preference for sequential information processing will probably tend to do better in arithmetic, which is usually introduced at the beginning of the child’s maths career. By the time they hit concepts more easily understood by a simultaneous mind (geometric patterns, abstract algebra and imaginary numbers), they probably firmly believe that they are “no good at maths”.

This is why it’s so important to get help as early as possible. As soon as your child turns 5, you can use the Learning Style Analysis Junior MINI tool to determine whether they are sequential or simultaneous thinkers. The tool will also show you whether they are good at absorbing visual information (a very useful skill when it comes to geometry and trigonometry), whether they would learn well with word sums and real-life examples, and how best to motivate them in their learning.

The Learning Style Analysis Junior MINI report will also show you how to do revision and homework with your child in a way that’s most beneficial to them. Click here for more information:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Learning Styles can help your brain stay fit

Have ever you noticed how your ability to do a certain type of puzzle improves if you do more puzzles of the same type? Be it crossword puzzles, IQ tests (yes, you can train your brain to improve at those), or even jigsaws - practice makes you better. Recent research suggests that puzzles that rely on problem-solving, memory and logical deduction can be highly beneficial for the brain by making people approach tasks in a more flexible way.

Although your brain is not a muscle, it stays fit in the same way as the rest of your body: through exercising it. People can acquire new brain cells throughout their lives, provided their brains are stimulated.

Says Dr Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of The Learning Brain: “When you’re stimulating your brain, it is more active and can even grow brain cell connections. If you teach people to play the piano, the part of the brain that controls finger movements increases and is more active. That’s the idea behind brain training.”Some suggested activities for keeping your brain agile include:
· Learning to play a musical instrument (check your Learning Style first on
· Riddles, crosswords, Sudoku and Scrabble.
· Learning another language (check your Learning Style first on
· Breaking at least two habitual actions a day, e.g., altering your route to the shops or using your “wrong” hand for your mouse.
· Checking your Learning Styles Analysis report (available from and deciding which flexibility to change into a preference.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Too Hungry to Learn

I’ve just heard a heart-warming story about solving an education problem in India. While the government is pouring money into textbooks and school buildings, a non-government organisation discovered that children don’t go to school because they are too hungry to concentrate. So the NGO built kitchens that would supply food to the schools. Now, because school was the only place where they could get food, children started attending - and because their bellies were full, they could benefit from the lessons, too.

And, closer to home, in New Zealand, smart-looking raincoats are given to children who can’t afford them. Not only do they keep the children dry, they boost their self-confidence and improve school attendance.

I wonder how many education problems could be solved by thinking outside the square like that.

Next time you encounter a child who has learning problems, think:
· Are their basic survival needs met (food, warmth, personal safety)?
· Are their higher survival needs met (friendship, parental love, feeling valued, feeling capable, feeling stimulated)?
· Are their learning style needs met (learning with their preferred senses, learning at their biologically dictated time of day, learning sequentially or holistically, learning in their preferred social grouping)? To find out more about learning styles, please visit

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Learning Styles Prevent Toxic Childhood

While living in the First World of the 21st century offers many good things (the cure for pneumonia, the ability to communicate instantly with people across the globe, abundance of food - to mention just a few), it also brings with itself the downside of opulence (like the constant race against time, the lack of appreciation for small things, our unnatural lifestyle).

Experts claim that modern life can stifle our creativity. They warn that poor diet, limited exercise, sausage-factory education and too much TV are all responsible for creating a “toxic environment” for our children.

The end of their letter reads: "Our society rightly takes great pains to
protect children from physical harm, but seems to have lost sight of their
emotional and social needs.

Despite all our wealth and technology, the childhood experienced by today's children in the Western world is significantly poorer from that of previous generations. The food they eat is often not home-cooked. They inject fewer fresh fruit and more preservatives. They are not as physically fit or able as their grandparents were at the same age, and their power of imagination is weaker.

Can Learning Styles help? Certainly they can, particularly to combat the problem of sausage-factory education. Learning Styles cater to every child’s unique learning needs, showing parents and teachers how to bring out the best in every individual.

Learning Styles can also help parents choose appropriate pastime activities to replace the TV and computer games. By looking at the child’s strengths and flexibilities, parents are able to decide whether the child will benefit the most from building model aeroplanes, doing gymnastics, reading, listening to books on tape or socialising with friends.

To assess your child’s Learning Style, please have a look at

Of course, no matter what the child’s Learning Style, they will benefit from outdoor exercise, healthy home-made food and time spent with their loved ones.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Bananas - a wonder food - a brain food

I know not to believe everything I read on the Internet, but recently I’ve come across information from various sources that bananas are good for you.

· They provide energy thanks to the three simple sugars they contain.
· They can prevent depression because of tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin.
· The vitamin B6 in bananas can regulate blood glucose levels and thus prevent mood swings and help the nervous system.
· The high levels of potassium in bananas makes it a perfect brain food.
· The potassium lowers your blood pressure too.
· Bananas can alleviate heartburn.
· They can help you quit smoking. The vitamin B in bananas, as well as the potassium and magnesium, all help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

But the most interesting fact I discovered about bananas is that it is seen by some cultures as a cooling fruit, one that can help you cope with a hot environment. If you’re the type of person who works better in a cooler environment (to find out, click on and complete your WSA), eat a banana, then post a comment to this blog to let me know if you feel better.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Learning Styles - Help for Auditory and Mobile Learners

It may sound like science fiction, but if you’ve upgraded your computer within the last 3 years, chances are, you can talk to it and it can talk to you.

Instead of typing in the text, you can simply read or speak into the microphone, and the computer will turn your voice into text. And instead of reading, you can ask the computer to read out the text for you.

As you can imagine, this is outstanding news for learners who prefer to get their information through their ears (auditory learners) as opposed to through their eyes. It’s also good for people who enjoy talking more than they enjoy typing, or whose brain seems to freeze when they are faced with a blank sheet of paper on which to type or write.

Furthermore, it is not necessary to sit in front of the computer when using voice input (yay from all those with aching backs, those who like informal learning areas and those who need mobility when learning difficult concepts). Of course, you must be able to see the monitor to find out whether your words are correctly recognised, but apart from that, you can use voice input while standing, walking or lying down.

Are you an auditory learner? What learning area is optimal for you? Do you need to walk around while memorising new information? Visit us on to find out.

A word of caution about talking computers, though: sometimes we tend to glorify computers and attribute human-like intelligence to them. Not surprisingly then, when it comes to voice input devices, we often have unrealistic expectations. We imagine that the computer will read our minds (“listen to what I think, not to what I say”). Unfortunately, we are still years away from the scenario of talking to our computers the way we would to a fellow human being, one with two ears and a well-trained human brain between them. Also, it may take a few weeks of reading pages of prescribed text to your computer, before it can recognise your particular accent and speech patterns.

You can find out whether your computer is capable of voice input by going to the Control Panel (from the Start menu). If you find a Speech icon, your computer is ready to go!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Learning styles and brain sex

Men and women do think differently, revealed a new research study into the anatomy of the brain.

Our brain is made primarily of two different types of tissue:
· grey matter (which can be seen as information processing centers)
· and white matter (which serves as a network to these processing centers).

The latest findings conclude that men think by utilising chiefly their grey matter, while women think more with the white matter. This explains why men often excel at tasks requiring more localized processing, such as mathematics, while women tend to be better at integrating and assimilating information, which aids language skills.

Is your brain better at sequential information processing or simultaneous information processing or equally good at both? To find out, do the Learning Style Analysis ( or the Working Style Analysis (

(For the full article on the new research into Brain Sex, have a look at

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Learning Styles and Your Sleep

What’s your Learning Style when it comes to the preferred time of day? I’m a true-blue night owl, and if I had the world my way, we would all go to bed at 3 a.m. and sleep till lunchtime. But is it such a good idea?

“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise,” goes the old saying. I usually paraphrase it as “Early to rise and early to bed makes you no fun before you’re dead.”

Then there is “The early bird catches the worm” with the caveat that “It’s the early worm that gets caught”.

So many sayings, so much folklore. Even your mother probably told you that sleep is best before midnight. I didn’t believe her: after all, the body doesn't know what time it is, so it can’t possibly matter what time you go to bed. Surely, when they say “sleep before midnight is the healthiest for you”, they must mean “the first two or so hours of your sleep are the most important”.

However, I've just read an interesting article that explains why our mothers were right all along. Research has shown that sleeping from 10pm to 6am results in much more rest than sleep from 12-8 or 2am-10am. It's to do with the body's natural clock: our sleep hormone (melatonin) is released an hour or two after it gets dark outside. That’s our natural biological cue for banking the fire in the cave and burrowing down into the bed of straw and furs.

If you miss that cue, you will have to wait another 90 minutes or so before the second wave of sleepiness hits you... but this one will not produce sleep that’s as sound and healthy as that first hormone-laden wave.

This means that night owls are at a disadvantage biologically, because we do our best work after dark. So we have a choice:
· get some healthy sleep and miss out on our productive time (this may lead to stress because we are then forced to work in a time slot that goes against our Working or Learning Style),
· or work in your preferred evening time slot, but miss out on the health benefits of sleep before midnight.

So what is a night owl to do? You may like to alternate your late evening activities: use it for sleep every second or third day, for example. It’s also important to have a look at your Working or Learning Style report to see if there is another time slot that you can use for working on something new or difficult.

If you are forced to work in a non-preferred time slot, then at least make sure that all your other preferences (environmental, physical, social, and so on) are satisfied in order to minimise the stress you will be placing on yourself by working against your Working or Learning Style.

(To assess your Working or Learning Style, please visit us on

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tired? Working Styles Can Help

Are you constantly tired? Is your mind buzzing with plans, to-do lists and feelings of guilt over the things you should-have-done? Perhaps you are trying to do too much. Or perhaps you are trying to do it in a way that’s not suitable to your Working Style.

For example, if you get up earlier than usual every morning in order to catch up on your chores, you may find that easy tasks are harder than you expected while difficult tasks are almost impossible. It might also lead to your feeling a lot more fatigued than you would have expected due to a shorter night. If that’s the case, it may be that you have a Working Style non-preference for working in the early hours of the morning and that you should consider another time slot for putting in additional hours.

What about multitasking? In our modern lifestyle, it’s not unusual to be in the middle of an online chat conversation about a project while at the same time conducting a phone conversation and trying to scan through your emails to fish out the really critical ones. This method of working is appropriate for people whose brains process information in a simultaneous way, but can be really tiring and stressful for those whose brains process in a sequential manner.

There are many more factors in your Working Style that could be contributing to your fatigue levels. Please visit us on to read more.
(Coming next: in a week’s time, we’ll be looking at sleep patterns and how they can affect your wellbeing. Remember to visit our blog next week.)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

NCEA - The improvements

For those readers outside of New Zealand, NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) is this country’s main national qualification for secondary school students and part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

Its premise was to recognise the skills needed for an information age and to remove the sense of failure associated with the traditional teaching methods that did not meet the learning and certification needs of some students.

It’s been said that it all depends on your child's learning Style. Anecdotally, examinations such as Cambridge are better suited to students who excel in the sciences - typically sequential learners, while NCEA is better suited to those who think creatively and outside the square - typically simultaneous learners. (Does your child prefer to process information sequentially or a simultaneously? Please click on to find out.)

Be that as it may, ever since its introduction in 2002, the public opinion’s been divided into “NCEA is a world class qualification” and “It’s a total failure”.

Those in favour point out that university entrants are now far better prepared for their first year of tertiary education. Those opposed point out the inconsistencies in the external marking system, which can award the same piece of work with grades as diverse as “not achieved”, “achieved” and “merit”.

Following severe criticism, the Ministry of Education has come up with the following improvements:
- Introducing 'excellence' and 'merit' to NCEA certificates from 2007
- Introducing 'excellence' and 'merit' at subject level from 2008
- Including 'not achieved' in NCEA results notices for both internally assessed and externally assessed standards from 2008
- Up to 10 per cent of internally assessed standards will be moderated by full-time moderators appointed to NZQA from 2008.

Do you think the improvements are adequate? A step in the right direction? Off the mark? Have your say here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The brave new world - is our technology killing us?

A recent British study conducted by BBC researchers revealed emission levels in a classroom that were three times higher than those from a mobile phone mast. The emissions came from the schools’ wireless network.

This made me wonder about all the wonder-ful modern technology we have at our disposal.
· Microwave ovens: have been blamed for lower fertility, particularly in men, as well as for changing the amino-acids in protein-based food such as meat and dairy products.
· Cell phones: there is a slight statistical correlation between cell phones and brain tumours.
· Electricity: by now we probably all know that it’s bad to live under power lines and that you shouldn’t sleep near electrical appliances (a distance of 3 metres has been suggested).
· Computers tire our eyes and bend our spines.
· Pharmaceuticals: we create super-bugs by over-using antibiotics. We may be doing more harm than good by swallowing an anti-congestant and a cough-suppressant every time we are hit by a cold or flu.
· Stress caused by traffic jams, network cable failure, and constant cell phone intrusions. (To learn how to combat stress, please visit us on and complete your WSA profile.)
· And now the wireless Internet issue....

Although there has been no link between long-term radiation and cancer, Britain's Health Protection Agency has called for an urgent review of health risks from wireless Internet networks.

Do you think their worries are justified? Do you think it’s safe to cook meat in the microwave oven? Let us know.

Remember: the fall of the Roman Empire was allegedly caused by lead pipes which were thought to be a great new invention bringing fresh drinking water to the citizens of Rome. (Or was the lead a by-product of the Roman wine-making? So may theories. So little certainty.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Time Management Tips That Are Right For Your Brain

There are time management courses, time management software packages, time management self-help books and time management articles in professional literature. But let’s face it, time management tips work only if they are right for you and for the unique way in which your brain works.

“Prioritize ruthlessly”, “Get in the habit of setting time limits for tasks” and “Be sure your systems are organized” are all very good time management tips for people whose brains are analytic and detail-oriented, but totally unsuitable for global thinkers.

“Establish routines and stick to them” will work for those who love routine, but will be totally counter-productive for change-oriented variety-driven people.

People who like working alone will not do well by following the tip to “Learn to delegate and outsource” - it would simply be too stressful and too counter-productive to their Working Style.

Do you know what your Working Style is and what time management practices are best for you? If not, please visit us on and complete your WSA profile.

Special offer: Type this code YR7TWPC into the Promotion Code field when you’re making your purchase and receive a 10% discount. Valid on the WSA Employee product only. This offer expires 31 May 2007.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Back problems? Sitting up straight may be bad for you....

Barbara Prashnig, the creator of Working Style Analysis (WSA) now has scientific proof that sitting up straight may be bad for you. In her book, “The Power of Diversity”, Barbara shot down many myths, among them the belief that you concentrate better when sitting upright. “Many human beings perform better in an informal environment,” says Barbara. “When someone sits on a hard chair, approximately 75% of the total body weight is supported by only 10 square centimetres of bone. The resulting stress often causes fatigue, discomfort and lack of concentration.”

If you experience back pain, please have a look at for more scientific explanations.

If you’re not sure whether a formal or an informal environment is good for your personal Working Style, please visit us on for your chance to win a WSA assessment.

Do you know what else might be causing stress or a performance drop at work? Do your WSA today and find out whether it’s the lighting at the office that’s making you irritable and tired.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Healthy snacks for those who need intake while working or learning

If your Learning Style calls for intake when you’re concentrating on something new or difficult, make sure that what you snack on doesn’t make you feel too heavy, too tired or - in the longer term - unhealthy.

So here are a few ideas for light snacks that are good for you:
· water (about 2 litres or 8 standard-size cups is about right as a daily dose)
· nuts (provided you’re not allergic)
· fresh or dried fruit (if dried, those without preservatives are best)
· seeds (e.g., sunflower, pumpkin)
· dark chocolate (at least 70& cocoa)
· popcorn (no-fat and preservative free)
· anything with lots of omega 3 (salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring).

Do you have any other suggestions? We’d love to hear from you! Simply drop us an email or leave a comment on this blog.

Please listen to your Learning Style needs - they are there to help you work and learn in an optimal way.
(To find out what your Learning Style is, please visit

Thursday, April 26, 2007

What our clients want

I’ve just realised why giants like Microsoft, McDonalds and Coca Cola are so successful: they offer their customers what they want. They do endless surveys and they deliver.

So, to keep up with the Big Three, here is a short survey from us at Prashnig Style solutions ( Please let us know:
1. What you’d like to see on our website
2. How we can improve our products
3. What new products might you be interested in purchasing (no obligation)

Please respond by commenting on this page or by emailing competitions @ And yes, there will be a spot prize for one lucky reader.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Win a Working Style Assessment!

Would you like to win a complimentary assessment of your working style (WSA)? The WSA report is a comprehensive document of approximately 18 pages, complete with colourful graphs, summaries and action plans.

Find out how to:
· create a stress-free environment at work;
· communicate with your colleagues and team leaders;
· avoid careers that are unsuitable for you;
· learn new things easily.

For your chance to win, please follow the link to

Our WSA reports have recently been enhanced with colourful pie charts to let you see your strengths and non-preferences at a glance. For a free demo profile, please click on

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Post Easter Harmony

Did you know that the way you spent your Easter holidays reflects your Working Style (or the Working Style of the person who organised your time for you)?

Whether you spent your long weekend ticking tasks off the to-do list, whether you planned your entertainment or enjoyed spontaneous activities, how long it took you to decide to eat that chocolate egg... all that depends on your own unique combination of 49 Working Style elements.

Please visit us on to get your free WSA demo.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Slow Down!

Did you know?
· French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, tend to be more productive than the Americans or the British.
· The Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks in places like VW and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%.

Given the facts, it’s amazing how many companies still believe that a person who works longer hours is necessarily a better worker. And our very own worth of self is often measured by how many hours we’ve worked this week (“Wow, I put in 67 hours this week: I must be really crucial to my company’s survival!”)

Globalisation and consumerism have generated the sense of "hurry", fuelled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being".

This Easter, we’d like to invite you to sit down and take things slowly. Enjoy Slow Food (the opposite of Fast Food): healthy environmentally-friendly food prepared by loving hands and eaten among family and friends. Switch off the computer. Take a long pleasant walk. Put away the list of chores. Savour each passing hour. Have a wonderful holiday.

With best wishes from us all at Prashnig Style Solutions,, the home of Learning Styles and Style Diversity.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Easter Egg Hunt with Learning Styles

Easter is upon us. Many of you will be looking forward to all that chocolate the Easter Bunny has promised.

But did you know that your Learning Style can tell you how you will most likely go about the search? Will you be patient? Systematic? Will you look everywhere at once? Will you prefer a map or verbal instructions or no guidance at all?

Do your Learning Style Assessment on and find out.

For a chance to win a free assessment, please send in your best Easter Egg design (.jpg form) or your favourite treasure hunt experience (.rtf or .txt form) to

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Homework the right way

Step Press: Centre for Public Education in Alexandria, VA claims that homework overload does not raise student achievement. Their spokesman sys: "Information from international assessments shows little relationship between the amount of homework students do and test scores. Students in Japan and Finland, for example, are assigned less homework but still outperform U.S. students on tests."

And we agree, to an extent. It is true that students don’t need hours of homework for homework’s sake - that would simply take up their time and raise their frustration levels. What they do need instead, is a smart way of doing homework in such a way that it is fun, productive and time-efficient, a way which allows them to learn.

If you want a practical strategy to improve your child’s success at school, use the long proven Learning Style Analysis from Prashnig Style Solutions, Find out how to create a home study area conducive to doing homework the right way. Discover whether the teachers know how best to access your child’s potential. Confirm that your child is safe when doing homework on the Internet. - doing homework the right way.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Learning Styles and Homework

(Continuing the Homework series - please see previous posts.)

What’s better, a good education or a carefree childhood? Is it better for a child to do homework or to enjoy other activities? Is there an acceptable compromise? Can you have both?

The most important thing to realise when asking such questions is that homework, when approached correctly, is not a horrible waste of time which tortures the minds and souls of school children. Quite the opposite, in fact: homework can be FUN!

How? That will depend on the child’s learning style. A holistic child will want to know why they need to do homework, an analytic child will have to approach it step-by-step from the beginning, a routine-oriented child will need a degree of sameness around the homework ritual (same time, same place, same favourite toy sitting next to the textbook), and so on.

Every child will also need their own learning area. Again, depending on the child, that may turn out to be the bedroom or the family room, with a desk or a comfortable bean bag, with soft learning-friendly music or without, with just the right degree of lighting, with or without a friend.

To find out what your child needs in order to turn homework into something as enjoyable as swimming or watching TV, please visit us on and order their own Learning Style Analysis.

Speaking of TV... it all sounds good when the proponents of abolishing homework cry for our children to have more time to do the things in life that children should do: climb trees, so fishing, spend time with the family. But in reality, where would that extra free time really be spent: in the tree house or in front of the TV?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Homework - too much and too little

(Continuing the Homework series - please see the previous post and its comments.)

My first school experience was in the Communist Poland of the 1970s. We started school at 6 or 7, and by the end of the first year we were expected to have mastered:
· reading a book with more than 1000 words of text,
· writing a page-long essay about topics such as what we did during the holidays,
· addition,
· subtraction,
· set theory.

Our homework in primary school began with about 1 hour in the first year, and increased by about 30 minutes every year, so that teenagers would often come home around 4pm and sit down to do homework which would easily take till 10pm by the time you hit year 10.

That’s clearly too much. And yet, when I left Poland at the age of 12, I could write a 3-page essay about the influence of the Renaissance on the art of the period, I could analyse a work of literature in terms of symbolism and foreshadowing, I knew my Greek mythology and non-binary systems of counting, I understood photosynthesis and could recite all the major rivers of Europe together with their tributaries.

In South Africa, I experienced a shock. Although my English was next to non-existent at the time, I couldn’t believe that the only homework we ever got was to learn a list of words for a spelling test or to colour in a map. The maths syllabus was about 3 years behind what I was used to... and all the tests were in the textbook, just begging the students to do them ahead of time in order to get better scores (that, however, would have been homework, so they didn’t do it).

When I challenged my parents about the discrepancy between the two education systems, I was told: “perhaps teachers in South Africa teach in such a way that no homework is ever necessary”. Well, I suppose in a way they were right. Teachers in South Africa taught a very minimalist curriculum compared to the Polish one.

So, what’s better, a good education or a carefree childhood? Is there an acceptable compromise?

We’ll look for the answer together next week.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to know what your child’s personal assessment says about their homework, please have a look at

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Homework not working?

“Homework should be abolished for small children as it serves no purpose,” screamed a line in USA a few weeks ago. It was reprinted with relish by a New Zealand newspaper.

The proponents of abolishing homework state that:
· There is no evidence that doing more homework leads to finer academic achievement.
· Children are wasting their precious time that could be spent on hobbies and family.
· Working parents are unable to supervise and support children in their homework.
· Too much homework erodes the love of learning.
· Too much homework may have long-lasting psychological effects.

We will hold off judgement for a week before we present our side of the argument. Meanwhile, we invite you to comment on this blog and let us know what you think about the issue of homework.

Some points to comment on:
· What do you remember about doing homework when you were at school? Was it useful or a waste of time?
· If you have children, how much time to they seem to spend on their homework? Is it more or loess than you expected? More or less than when you were their age? Do your children seem to benefit from it?
· If you’re a teacher, why do you assign homework?

If you have a pressing homework issue, please visit our website on or email us on

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Education problems - is there a silver bullet?

(This blog forms part of a series. Please check the previous entries on how to use computers wisely, how much time in front of the computer is healthy, what is better: the library or the Internet, what are the education problems of today.)

The solutions to education problems are aplenty, at least in theory. Almost everybody has their favourite (please add a comment at the bottom of this blog if we’ve omitted yours):
· Smaller classes (i.e., a better teacher-child ratio) - you can find a good argument here:
· More technology
· Less technology
· A radically different education approach (like Montessori or Rudolf Steiner)
· Stricter discipline
· Nutritious breakfast
· Better teacher
· Better paid teachers
· More passion
· More money
· ... And many others.

But is there a silver bullet? I believe that the answer is yes, to an extent. Every student is unique, every situation different. By finding out exactly what a student needs in his or her learning environment - also known as Learning Style Analysis ( - and then catering to those needs, we create a student who is more receptive to learning and less inclined to be disruptive (or even self-destructive).

Example 1:
Mary dislikes bright lights, thus she will become hyperactive, stressed and undisciplined in a room with fluorescent lighting (such as many classrooms have). However, Jake who likes bright lights will feel lethargic and sleepy in a room that’s dimly lit. Catering to their unique learning needs by creating brighter and darker areas in the classroom would make these students perform better at school.

Example 2:
Emily has a non-preference for external motivation (to find out more about this need, please look at This means that the traditional carrot-and-stick approach so often used by teachers and parents alike doesn’t work on her. Offering her a treat for doing her homework will only irritate her, while withholding privileges for not doing the homework might make her rebellious is she also has a non-preference for conformity. To encourage Emily to do her homework, you must appeal to her inner sense of motivation, in other words, you must make her want to do homework for her own sake.

For more information on this topic, please do not hesitate to drop a comment or an email to yvonne at

Friday, February 16, 2007

What are the education problems of today?

(This blog forms part of a series. Please check the previous entries on how to use computers wisely, how much time in front of the computer is healthy, what is better: the library or the Internet>)

At first glance, the question “What are the education problems of today?” seems far too generic. Surely the education problems in USA must be different from those in Africa, India or New Zealand?

Naturally, every country will have its unique problems. In some countries, women are allowed to go to university. In others, children don’t have access to schools, textbooks, teachers who speak their language, learning tools. Some education systems are criticised for pushing children too hard, making them too stressed by exams and too busy with homework. Other systems are criticised for not monitoring the students’ progress closely enough or comparatively enough.

However, some education problems are shared by numerous and often seemingly diverse countries:
· Students leaving school without gaining an adequate level of literacy and numeracy.
· Discipline problems at school.
· Students who dislike school and consider learning a chore.
· Students who battle with homework.
· Drop-out rate.
· Students who are mislabelled as “learning-disabled”, or “learning-challenged”, or ADD.

Please feel free to post a comment on this blog and list more education problems. The ones I’ve named above are the first that came to mind because I work with them every day... and because I know the solution.

That’s right. The solution is called “Letting children learn according to their Learning Styles” or “Learning Styles” for short. Please have a look at to find out more.

While I know I can’t solve the education problems in a single blog column, here is an interesting article about what makes for happy children (stay-at home mothers, open channels of communication with parents, lack of peer pressure, high level of education with a simultaneous lack of unreasonable demands from teachers). And here is another article about why Learning Styles are important: to Stay.pdf.