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.