Thursday, July 24, 2008

Learning Styles and Brain Gender

How does a Learning Style influence the gender of your brain? Or is it the other way round, and the gender influences your Learning Style?

Situation 1
You ask a man for directions. He’s likely to draw you a map. His directions will have the exact number of streets you cross before you turn (“second to the left then third to the right”). His Learning Style is probably analytic and he is good at special orientation.

In contrast, if you ask a woman for directions, she’s more likely to orient you according to landmarks such as the bookstore, the bank and “the big blue canopy”. Her Learning Style is most likely visual and holistic.

(What is your Learning Style? Click here to begin your adventure.)

Situation 2
Imagine a group of three boys of school-going age. One of the boys has a cool toy, much-coveted by them all. What do you think will happen? You’re right: the other two boys will ask for the toy, grab at it, or even chase the boy who has it.

Now imagine the same group, only with three girls, one of whom is holding the toy. Can you guess what the other two girls are going to do? Research reveals that the two girls will punish the holder of the toy by excluding her from their clique, whispering behind her back or even hiding from her.

Both groups are competitive, both groups are hierarchical. Boys, however, rely on physical advantages (for evolution reasons, many males have a kinesthetic Learning Style), while girls form social groups of power (for evolution reasons, many females have a peers-oriented Learning Style).

For more information on Learning Styles, please take a look here.

We all know that males and females often think very differently. The commonly accepted scientific explanation is a mixture of sociological conditioning and the action of adult sex hormones. But in a recent article, New Scientist challenged the assumption that the basic architecture of the brain and its fundamental workings are the same for both sexes:
“Research is revealing that male and female brains are built from markedly different genetic blueprints, which create numerous anatomical differences. There are also differences in the circuitry that wires them up and the chemicals that transmit messages between neurons. All this is pointing towards the conclusion that there is not just one kind of human brain, but two.”

(What is your brain’s gender? Click here to find out.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Your Child’s Spelling Problems and Learning Styles

If your child is struggling with spelling (particularly in English which is notoriously complex to spell, but also in other languages), it does not mean that they are lazy or a slow learner.

The most likely cause of your child’s lack of progress is their mismatched learning style.

Think about the way your child’s spelling is tested: are they expected to write the word down, or recite it letter by letter? Think about the way your child’s spelling is taught: visually from a book, or by listening to the teacher spell it letter by letter? (Click here for the article “Help, my teacher doesn’t know my learning style”.)

If your child has a non-preference for learning visually, learning spelling by reading words in a book is no good. Similarly, if your child is not auditory, learning letter by letter will not produce results.

(What is your child’s preferred learning style?)

Other potential causes of poor spelling include:

· Dysgraphia (a difficulty writing coherently, if at all, regardless of ability to read, unusual pencil grip),
· Dyslexia (especially if the child has good ideas for writing but a poor ability to write them down).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Your Creative Child (and her Learning Style)

Jessica is a lovely girl with an active imagination. Her drawings are superb and she has a gift of story telling. However, she needs to work on paying attention in class and keeping to the task at hand, as she’s easily distracted and hardly ever finishes her work.

Does your son or daughter’s school report card read something like that? Then you have a creative child on your hands.

Creative children typically have a highly holistic learning style, characterised by the following:
· thinking outside the box
· daydreaming
· ability to do several things at once
· lack of concern for details in favour of the big idea
· trouble with time limits and deadlines.

(To analyse your child’s learning style, please have a look at

Because most schools are geared towards children whose learning style is analytic (and thus quite the reverse of a holistic style), your creative child might struggle to flourish in the traditional education system. If not properly stimulated and rewarded, a creative child might lose interest in schoolwork and, in time, become withdrawn or rebellious.

Does your child’s learning style stand in the way of academic success? Here’s how you can help.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Stress, Burnout and Multitasking

Stress, Burnout and Multitasking

“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”

That’s what Lord Chesterfield thought about multitasking almost 300 years ago. Do his words contain age-old wisdom, or are they hopelessly outdated in our world of uber-technology?

In 2005, a research study conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London, reported that, “Workers distracted by e-mail and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers.”

I only have one question: did the designers of the research study check the participants’ working style (in particular, whether their preference for information processing was simultaneous or sequential)? At a guess, they did not, or the result would have looked totally different.

(To find out whether you are a simultaneous information processor who thrives on multitasking, or a sequential information processor who does not, please have a look at

So why is that important? In simple terms, we cannot measure all people with the same yardstick, nor should you compare apples and pears. To say that multitasking is bad for a person’s productivity is like saying that everybody should wear shoe size 11 because that’s the most comfortable shoe size around.

Yes, it’s true that, for some people, multitasking leads to stress and burnout.

It’s equally true that, for some people, concentrating on a single task results in boredom, creativity block and poor productivity.

Our Working Style Analysis tools can help you determine your optimal working conditions. Do you know whether multitasking is good for you? Do you know whether the light at your office makes you lethargic or irritable? Do you know your working style? If not, here’s how to find out.