Friday, May 30, 2008

Do Your Homework in Style

Why does my child refuse to do homework?
Most parents battle with the issue of homework. Children, especially holistic children, need to know why they have to do homework. What’s the benefit of repeating something at home that you’ve just done in class? How does homework fit into the overall scheme things?

Analytic children probably aren’t as interested in the big picture and why they should learn at home. If they refuse to do homework, it’s probably because the task at hand seems too big, they don’t know where to begin and 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.

Why is homework important?
Homework reinforces skills that have been taught at school. It also gives teachers a chance to monitor the students’ progress. If set up properly, homework can also be a great way to learn how to work independently.

Where’s the ideal place to do homework?
That depends on the child’s unique learning style. Some children need bright light, others dim light. Some like doing homework at the desk, while others prefer a more informal setting with soft cushions, or lie on the floor, or stretched out on their bed. Some children like studying in a quiet area, but others need background hum for better concentration.

Experts suggest to have a homework routine: a specific time and place set aside each day for doing homework - that way you avoid having arguments, because children know it’s 4.30 pm and therefore time to work. Is that a good idea?
Routine works well for some kids, but not for others. Please check your children’s LSA results before you decide on this blanket approach.

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 by matching other important learning needs.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Are you an owl or a lark? It's in your Learning Style...

Sandra is employed by a small marketing company. On weekends, she reads novels until two o'clock every the morning - then sleeps till lunchtime the next day. That is her natural rhythm, something she feels comfortable with. On Mondays, however, she has to get up before seven to attend weekly meetings at the office.
“My boss is so clearly a morning person, it hurts,” she complains. “He arrives at work at eight-thirty every Monday morning, fresh and energetic. My two colleagues await him bight-eyed, bushy-tailed and full of creativity. And all I can do is gulp my coffee, mug after mug, stifle the yawns and think that if the early bird gets the worm, then it’s also the early worm that gets caught.”
It’s not that Sandra is not stimulated by her work. “My job is my passion,” she says. The time of day is well after dinner, so it’s not surprising that her face is glowing when she tells me about her new ideas for this year’s brochures and the new cold marketing approach she’s planning. “But is it my fault that the best ideas come to me around midnight? When the house is dark and quiet, and the children fast asleep, that’s when I really enjoy playing around with colour and layout.”
There are many factors that may influence our concentration. Time of day is only one of the many elements that comprise our learning style and affect our work. Others include:
- noise
- level of details
- structure
- and many others.

What would make you work or learn better? Find out today.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Analytic and Holistic Learning Styles

Analytic students with a left-brain processing style learn very differently from the way students with a right-brain processing style tend to learn. Analytics learn sequentially, building details into the understanding and often prefer a quiet learning environment, bright light, formal seating arrangements and tend to continue their tasks until they have been completed. This makes them generally more successful in traditional school systems which are based on analytical, logical, academic teaching approaches.

Holistic/global students however, have a right-brain dominant, more feeling-based thinking style, learn holistically and compared to analytics often 'backwards'. They need the big picture, an overview first and once they understand the concept then they are able to concentrate on details. They prefer learning with what most teachers would describe as distractions: music, conversation, soft illumination, informal seating, snacks, social interaction and with lots of mobility. In addition, holistics often are not persistent, it is not their way to focus on one thing until they reach understanding - they function much more like a 'scatterbrain'. Only if something makes sense to
them, can they concentrate on details. They also may get easily bored and need frequent breaks. Usually they return to their assignment, work on it for a short period of time and then need another break. In addition, holistics don't like working on one thing at a time; instead, they prefer to work on multiple tasks simultaneously and enjoy them most when permitted to choose their own sequence and the time frame.

The younger children are, the more right-brain dominant they are; therefore they need more holistic, right-brain teaching methods because their analytical brain-processing skills are not yet developed and in many people (research estimates approximately two thirds of the Western population) holistic brain-processing remains the preferred thinking style throughout life. Most people have learned to analyse and can apply analytical thinking processes if they have to, but this makes learning harder and information storage much more difficult for them.

However, if a school system, which is based on analytical teaching methods, forces young people to do all their learning analytically (as this is the preferred teaching style, especially in academic subjects in most of our high schools) the result is that such a system sets up students for failure - especially those whose information-processing style is strongly holistic, as seems to be the case with many teenage boys and native people in many countries.

Another factor which contributes to the mismatch between teaching and learning styles is the well researched fact that teachers are strongly analytical in their approaches, more so in high schools than in primary schools (and even more in tertiary education) and cannot imagine that their specific subject area could be studied and presented holistically, in a more right-brain way. It is just not in their thinking! Such teachers also seem to have great difficulties in accepting that there is more than one way to learn anything, because due to their own sequential thinking processes, analytics believe 'their' way is the best and the only one.

And that false belief causes holistic students to fail, mainly in analytical subjects such as mathematics, science, economics, etc, which causes boredom and frustration, has a negative effect on their overall performance, and seems to be the main reason for behaviour and learning problems, which then lead to the above mentioned social problems among young adolescents.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Do you know a Mother?

This is what mothers say they want for Mother’s Day:
· a sleep-in
· breakfast in bed
· a hand-made card
· a bouquet of flowers from the garden
· a night off from cooking
· lots of kisses and cuddles
· an hour of me-time.

This is what mothers really want for Mother’s Day:
· health for the whole family
· happiness for the children
· success for the children
· ability to communicate with the children (in a language other than Grunt).

We have amazing news for you here at Prashnig Style Solutions: with Learning Style Analysis (LSA), a mother can begin the journey towards her child’s success at school and communication at home.

So here is our Special Offer for Mother’s Day: contact our office to tell us what you want to buy, mention this offer and receive 30% discount on an LSA product of your choice.

(You will also go into a draw for a complimentary box of chocolates.)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Multiple Intelligences, Lateral Thinking, Learning Styles

· How do multiple intelligences relate to Learning Styles?
· Is one Learning Style ‘nature smart’ while another may be ‘music smart’?
· What information processing style finds lateral thinking natural?

To answer these questions, we’d best define the concepts of multiple intelligences and lateral thinking.

(For a definition of a learning style, please click here.)

Intelligence is our ability to understand the world around us. Some of us are better at understanding numbers, some know how to win friends (and influence people), others learn cartwheels by simply watching people do cartwheels. Following this reasoning, Howard Gardner identified 8 types of intelligences:
· Linguistic
· Mathematical
· Spatial (pictures)
· Kinesthetic
· Musical
· Interpersonal
· Intrapersonal (about oneself)
· Naturalist

There is a strong statistical correlation between having a kinesthetic component of your learning style and having a kinesthetic intelligence. A similar correlation exists between an externally visual learning style and a special intelligence. A musical intelligence, however, relies on a number of factors, and no single element of your learning style can predict it.

(What is your Learning Style? Click here to find out.)

It is tempting to attempt a similar correlation between a thinker with simultaneous information processing and lateral thinking. However, it is not as simple as that.
Edward de Bono’s definition of lateral thinking makes it clear that it’s all about changing the direction of your thinking: “With logic you start out with certain ingredients just as in playing chess you start out with given pieces. Lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces but with seeking to change them.”
So, while there is a component of thinking outside the box, there is also a component of wanting a change, as well as a degree of nonconformity to rules.
Can your Learning Style predict whether you’d make a good lateral thinker? Email us to find out (quote your user name so that we can find your learning style report).