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.