Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

It’s hard to believe that it was really 30 years ago that ABBA sang “Happy New Year” with the following lyrics:

It’s the end of the decade

In another 10 years time

Who can say what we’ll find

What lies waiting down the line

In the end of ’89….

As we approach the end of 2009, let’s think about those words. In another ten years time, who can say what we’ll find?

You can. It’s the end of the decade, the first decade of the new millennium. And it’s up to you what lies waiting down the line at the end of 2019.

Happy new year!!!

(Start the new year with a bang: give yourself a Working Style Analysis today and find out how to make 2010 the best year of your life.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays from Creative Learning

Whatever your latitude and longitude, whatever your culture and traditions, here at Creative Learning we wish you a joyful, peaceful and rewarding holiday season. We look forward to seeing you back in 2010... oh, and incidentally, although our offices will be closed between 24 December 2009 and 11 January 2010, we will still be reading your emails, so keep in touch.

(the photos are of celebrating Christmas New-Zealand style)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Best Christmas Gift

With Christmas approaching fast, and your bank account emptying even faster, do you ever pause to bemoan the consumer culture we live in? Do you ever wonder what happens to your gift after Christmas and whether it’s used or stored in the cupboard? Do you sometimes think that the best things in life aren’t things?

This season, we have a perfect gift for your friends and family: their individual Working Style. Just think about it: would you rather give someone a plastic gadget or the gift of health and de-stressing?

The elements that may contribute to tension levels include:

· the amount of light in the workplace

· room temperature,

· time of day,

· change

· chaos or excessive neatness

· others.

If your loved ones work in circumstances that are mismatched with their Working Style, they can seriously harm their health. Stress is the silent killer of the 21st century - don’t let it happen!

Give them a gift of a good life.

Give them a Working Style Analysis today for a full report of things they should avoid.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Survive Christmas with Working Styles

Does the thought of the Festive Season stir up mixed emotions in you? Are you dreading the onslaught of business, chaos and the relatives?

You’re not alone. For many people Christmas is not the joyful holiday it’s portrayed to be by the media. While we’re not exactly “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, nor Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol”, most of us probably wonder from time to time where all the magic has gone.

But did you know that your individual Working Style can be to blame for your attitude towards the season’s celebrations?

Have a look at your Working Style report in your Creative Learning account (or complete your Working Style Analysis if you don’t have one). If your report shows a non-preference in one or more of the following aspects, Christmas festivities are probably more of a trial than a joy to you:

· a non-preference for working in groups,

· a non-preference for a noisy environment,

· a non-preference for change,

· a non-preference for external motivation…

… just to name a few (click here to see the others).

Also, depending on your Working Style, you might find yourself over-stimulated by the many Christmas decorations in the shops and at home, or overwhelmed by the auditory input of all the carollers singing off-key.

Are you ready for Christmas? Find out today.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Summer, Winter and Job Satisfaction

Are you happy in your job right now? Close your eyes and think about it for a moment. Got it? Good. Now look back six months - did you, in general, feel differently about your office, your boss, your work?

We live in a dynamic world, where many factors influence our lives and jobs. That’s why you may not even realise that some of your attitudes, stress levels and the degree of your job satisfaction may lie in something as simple and as natural as the seasons.

Yes, the seasons. As in, Summer and Winter. While the Northern Hemisphere is bracing for the cold and the dark, the Southern Hemisphere is bathing in bright hot sunshine. As the result, some people will become more lethargic or more agitated. Some people’s work performance will plummet, while others will feel renewed energy - all because of their Working Styles and their preference for light versus darkness or heat versus the cold.

Of course, light and temperature are not the only factors contributing to your work productivity. Other elements include:

· formal / informal work environment

· noise levels,

· time of day,

· your optimal team,

· and many others.

Complete your Working Style Analysis today for a full report of factors that may influence your job satisfaction.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Improve Your Memory with Learning Styles

It may sound like an advert, but it’s true: you can give your memory a boost by using your Learning Style. The techniques are simple, yet tailored especially towards your own unique way of learning.

To understand how your Learning Style affects the way in which you absorb new information best, please have a look here. Today, however, we will concentrate on the process of consolidating the already-learnt information in order to cement it in your memory.

A bit of scientific jargon here: the most recent research studies support the hypothesis that “enhanced memory in humans is associated with elevated norepinephrine activity during memory consolidation”. In everyday language, it means that stimulating the “Fight or Flight” response in the body makes your brain remember the situation. Our emotions influence how well the brain encodes information about exciting or meaningful events (from

So, the message is clear:

  • feel very positive about the thing you’re trying to memorise, and you will;
  • feel extremely negative about the thing you’re trying to memorise, and you will, too.

(Love your teacher, hate your teacher, fear your teacher - all those emotions will help you learn.)

The good news is that we don’t necessarily need to simulate a life-or-death situation or to become emotional in order to enhance our memory. Because norepinephrine is also released during physical activity, doing energising exercises immediately after a period of intensive memorising will help you retain the information. Similarly, going for a brisk walk when you’re trying to recall something might help unlock the obstinate memory pathway... unless mobility is not in the list of your Learning Style Preferences, of course.

What is your own Learning Style? Find out here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Say Goodbye to Office Stress, too!

Last week, we talked about using Working Styles at home, when dealing with your children (click here to read the full post). Today, we’ll use Working Styles in a more conventional way, namely, to decrease your stress levels in the office.

Your Working Style is the way in which you approach complex projects and cope with problematic tasks. Do you dive into the details straight away, or do you search for an overview first? Do deadlines stress you or energise you? Do you get excited or irritated by a promise of a performance bonus? Do you work more optimally in a group or by yourself? Do you enjoy working under a mentor or a supervisor? When people are late for a meeting, do you use the extra time to focus your mind or do you get so impatient that you can actually feel your blood pressure rising?

It’s not a joking matter. If you force yourself to work in circumstances that are incompatible with your Working Style, you can do your health a serious amount of damage. Stress is the silent killer of the 21st century - don’t let it get to you. Complete your Working Style Analysis today for a full report of factors that may contribute to your tension on the job.

And remember, the elements we discussed last week, namely:

· the amount of light in your office,

· tidiness or chaos (either can set your teeth on edge, depending on your unique Working Style),

· variety or habit (again, some people get upset by change, others don’t settle well into a routine),

· room temperature,

· time of day,

may also affect how stressed you feel at work. Check your Working Style Analysis report.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Say Goodbye to Stress with Working Styles

Step 1: Recognise Stress

(that’s nothing to do with Working Styles!)

· Your little girl spills juice on the carpet.

· Your son is having a screaming fit.

· Your toddler is carrying her latest painted masterpiece towards you. She drops it face down onto the carpet….

· Your teenager has died her hair purple.

Step 2: Discover Why You Are REALLY Stressed. No, REALLY!

Take something as simple as the light in your house. Did you know that some people feel better in darker rooms that have softer lighting, while others need bright light to function? If you like bright light, you may feel lethargic in dimly lit rooms; while if you prefer soft light, you may be stressed in a room in which the light bulbs are very bright. Fluorescent lights in particular (present in many kitchens, garages and laundries) can make you feel extremely agitated because of their constant flickering that your eye doesn’t notice but your brain still registers.

You can also feel stressed because of an untidy environment, too much change or too much routine, because of the weather, because of the time of day.

To find out, do our Working Style Analysis.

Step 3: Banish Stress

1. Think about your daily schedule and about your house. What can you change to achieve a better environment in which to be a parent? Hint: read the report you get with your personal and unique Working Style Analysis.

2. Not sure what else is adding to your stress? Then email Prashnig Style Solutions on with a subject line “Parental Stress Competition” for your chance to win a personal analysis.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Global Change and Learning Styles

Are you prepared for change? Generation Y has compressed the traditional 20 year career cycle into approximately 1-2 years. People who were born between 1975 and 1995 don’t want to spend a lifetime waiting for their life to happen.

“I need to feel that I’m constantly learning and growing,” says the 29 year old Andrew, a software engineer. “If I have to work on one thing for more than six months, or if a promotion passes me by, I will move on.”

The global economic situation doesn’t bother him. “My age and my qualifications have, so far, been recession-proof. There are still many good companies out there who are recruiting. But you have to be flexible and prepared to learn new things.”

This implies that to beat the recession and get the job of your dreams, you have to be willing to develop your existing skills and learn new ones.

Sounds easy? If we consider the human brain, it’s clear that its main function is to learn. Because of the brain’s enormous potential, information intake should be fun, easy, long-lasting and stress-free. So why isn’t it always the case?

Barbara Prashnig, the director of Creative Learning Company in Auckland, New Zealand, and a world expert in the area of learning techniques, believes that the key to successful learning is knowing and satisfying one’s unique Learning Style. “Learning style,” she says, “is simply the way in which human beings concentrate on, absorb, process and retain new and difficult information. People can learn virtually anything if allowed to do it through their own personal strengths.”

What’s your learning style? Have a look here to find out.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Left Brain, Right Brain

Left brain = analytic/logical thinking = sequential processing

Generally, people with a left-brain dominance are sequential thinkers, analytics who like facts, details and logic. They tend to like their work areas neat and organised. They have perfect filing systems, always deal with one project at a time and are deadline-driven. Keeping lists of tasks to do is their favourite hobby, and if they complete something that=s not on their list, they are likely to add it just for the satisfaction of crossing it out. Analytics are the ones who know the price of eggs in the local dairy, hang up the toilet paper so that the straight part touches the wall, roll up the toothpaste tube and replace the cap. An analytic cook follows a recipe step by step, and if she runs out of an ingredient, she drives to the shops to replace it.

Right brain = holistic/global thinking = simultaneous processing

Right-brained people, in contrast, are holistic multi-processors. They aren=t interested in the nitty-gritty of issues. Instead, they need to know the overall picture, the reasons behind a project rather than its deadline. Piles of paper gather dust on their desks and office floor, yet they are able to find any document at a moment=s notice. Holistics tend to use their intuition or feelings rather than rationalise about a problem. A holistic cook never ever keeps a shopping list, doesn=t sticks to recipes and is happy to substitute milo for cocoa powder in her chocolate cake.

That=s why some people mistake right-brain dominance for creative genius which is actually a marvellous combination of our entire brain's processing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Maths is Fun with Learning Styles

Maths is fun. If your child thinks it’s not, the education system’s at fault for not presenting maths in a way that’s palatable to the students.

Every child has their own unique Learning Style, in other words, every child learns in a different way:

  • some need to picture what they’re learning in their minds,
  • some need to touch learning tools and aids, trace the answers with their fingers or simply write the answers down a few times,
  • some need to hear the lesson explained,
  • some need to work it out for themselves.

All in all, there are 49 Learning Style Elements that affect your child’s ability to concentrate on their school work. Please have a look at the LSA Pyramid to see what they are.

If your child is kinesthetic-external, for example, take them for a walk and:

  • count your steps,
  • skip-count the cars that pass you,
  • identify the numbers on the houses as you walk,
  • add the registration numbers of the parked cars,
  • stop to buy a healthy snack and ask your child to count the money, work out the change, etc.

A tactile child will enjoy making and using learning tools such as flip-charts, electro-boards, models and wrap-arounds.

Do you know whether your child will enjoy playing a maths-based board game or baking a cake? Find out here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Learning Styles and 3D Animation Movies

Next time you see a movie or read a novel, try to guess what learning style elements the main characters exhibit. Of course, it’s impossible to know for sure unless the characters answer the LSA questionnaire (even experts get it wrong without the tool), but it’s great fun guessing!

Here is a Learning Style Analysis of the main characters in the latest 3d animation family movie called “Up”.

(Plot summary, compliments of

A young Carl Fredrickson meets a young adventure spirited girl named Ellie. They both dream of going to a Lost Land in South America. 70 years later, Ellie has died. Carl remembers the promise he made to her. Then, when he inadvertently hits a construction worker, he is forced to go to a retirement home. But before they can take him, he and his house fly away. However he has a stowaway aboard. An 8 year old boy named Russell, whose trying to get an assisting the elderly badge. Together, they embark in an adventure, where they encounter talking dogs, an evil villain and a rare bird named Kevin.)

Ellie’s Learning Style Elements:

  • Auditory (talking)
  • Kinesthetic (external)
  • Kinesthetic (internal)
  • Visual (external)
  • Visual (internal)
  • Tactile

Carl’s Learning Style Elements:

  • High Perseverence
  • Fluctuating Responsibility
  • Non-conforming

Russell’s Learning Style Elements:

  • Auditory (talking)
  • High Responsibility
  • Group-oriented

Evil Villain’s Learning Style Elements:

  • Works alone (don’t they all?)
  • Externally Motivated

For more Learning Style Elements, please see the LSA Pyramid.

To check your child’s or your own unique learning preferences, click here.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Are you a Shopaholic?

Did you know that your Working Style reveals far more about you than simply whether you prefer your office quiet or your brainstorming meetings late in the afternoon?

Your Working Style Analysis (WSA) results can tell an expert:

· What kind of cook you are

· How safe your driving style is

· … And yes, whether you’re a shopaholic!

Although the report will not actually say any of those things, you can deduce them based on the WSA pyramid elements such as:

  • your thinking style
  • your information processing technique
  • how visual you are
  • your responsibility gradation
  • and many others.

Buy your own WSA assessment today and see whether you knew yourself as well as you always imagined.

Monday, October 05, 2009



I’m sure you’ve all heard the WHY question. It’s Sunday night, the kids want to watch a movie or play another round on the X-box, when….

“Have you done your homework yet?”

“But Mum…”

“You know the rules. Homework before play.”

“Stupid rules. What do we need homework for, anyway?”

Children, particularly those whose Learning Style is holistic, need to know WHY they have to do homework: after all, what’s the benefit of doing something at home that you’ve just done in class? The trouble is, sometimes we, as parents, find ourselves asking the very same question, as we leap to help with spelling here and a science project there, not really knowing how to help (tip: to find out how you can help your child, discover his or her learning preferences).

So, why do we have homework?

· Homework is important to reinforce skills that have been taught at school.

· It also gives teachers a chance to monitor students’ progress.

· If children are positive about homework, it can be a great way to learn how to work independently.

Are you wondering what the next step is? Have a look here to find out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Watch that Maths!!!

Despite the teachers’ best efforts, some students still leave school without rudimentary numeracy skills. The message I keep hearing from parents is simple: watch the maths, because once your child falls behind on the basics, it’s a difficult journey to catch up again.

So how do you watch the maths?
  • Ask your child whether she likes her maths schoolwork and whether she thinks she’s good at it.
  • Ask your teacher whether your child is performing below, at, or above expectations for her age group.
  • Ask yourself what your child’s Learning Style is and what sort of games you can play with her at home to boost her confidence in her ability to “get” numbers. (Have a look here to find out.)

Depending on her learning preferences, you might:

  • Devise a colourful worksheet for your child to complete on a regular basis.
  • Play a board game that involves numeracy skills.
  • Organise a treasure hunt in the woods or on the beach (the clues are based on maths).
  • Make a flip chute or an electro board together (please contact us for more information on making learning tools).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Boys and girls - the difference in Learning Styles

Michael Gurian, lecturer and family therapist: “A primary area of concern for nearly every teacher is the difference we each intuit in the males and females we teach.” Although the overlap between the genders is enormous, there is no denying that “boys and girls learn differently”.

Forget amateur wisdoms such as "boys are competitive, girls are collaborative". Scientists have recently discovered that differences between girls and boys are more profound.

Research revealed, for example, that boys and girls see differently: male eyes are attracted to movement and to cooler colours (such as blue, black, grey), while female eyes are enticed by textures, details and warmer colours (red, yellow, orange). Learning Styles cater for this difference by assessing the student’s preferences for visual input (see the LSA Pyramid).

Boys and girls also hear differently: girls interpret loud speaking as threatening, while boys see it as confident. Learning Styles distinguish the student’s preferences for auditory input (LSA Pyramid).

The male autonomic nervous system causes boys to be more alert in colder temperatures (Learning Style Element - temperature), as well as when they’re moving (Learning Style Element - mobility). Girls prefer warmer temperatures and they often learn better when seated.

Curiously enough, stress in boys helps them stay focused by directing blood flow into their brains. Girls respond to stress differently, with blood flowing to their digestive system and making them anxious.

Of course, says David Chadwell, South Carolina’s coordinator of single gender education: “These (learning) differences are tendencies, not absolutes”. To check your child’s unique learning preferences, click here.

Leonard Sax, MD, PhD offers the following examples of the gender differences:

· Brain development: In girls, the language areas of the brain develop before the areas used for spatial relations and for geometry.

· Wiring: In teenage girls, emotion is processed in the same area of the brain that processes language. So, it's not too difficult for most teenage girls to talk about their emotions.

· Sense of hearing: The typical teenage girl has a sense of hearing which is significantly better than a teenage boy. That's why daughters so often complain that their fathers are shouting at them. Dad doesn't think he's shouting, but Dad doesn't hear his voice the way his daughter does.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Numeracy and Learning Styles

In the news today: “Only a third of students are numerate going into secondary school, and the process of teaching mathematics needs to be addressed, an Auckland University maths lecturer says.” And the problem is not limited to New Zealand.

So, if the experts say that the process of teaching mathematics needs to be addressed, the most important thing is to begin with teaching according to the students’ Learning Styles.

A Learning Style is the way in which a student understands new facts and memorises them best.

Some students need to visualise what they’re learning. Others require a tactile tool to help them absorb the lesson. Holistic students will benefit from math jokes and anecdotes.

Depending on your students’ learning strengths and needs, here are a few ways to make numeracy fun:

  • Play a board game that requires number skills (“Snakes and Ladders” for counting from 1 to 100, Junior Monopoly for addition and subtraction).
  • Bake a cake, measuring the ingredients and working out the cost of the cake based on the price of the flour, eggs, etc.
  • Make flip-cards for your maths times-tables.
  • Watch “Number Jacks” on TV.

Bear in mind, however, that you have to match the activities to the students’ Learning Styles. Ask yourself:

  • Do your students concentrate better in the morning than in the afternoon?
  • Do they get hyperactive when you switch on bright classroom lights?
  • Will they become more engaged in the lesson if you let them do hands-on activities?
  • Have a look here to find out.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

"Learning Steps to Overcoming Fear" from Jacqueline Wales

Yvonne Walus shares the following "Learning Steps to Overcoming Fear" from Jacqueline Wales, author of The Fearless Factor, at the Creative Learning Center -

“Being Fearless is not the absence of fear, but the choices and decisions we make when fear shows up in our lives.”

Fear is one of the most powerful motivating forces in the human experience. It is the clarion call that signals there is something you need to change in order to live a completely fulfilled life. Honoring this feeling is the greatest gift you can give yourself.

It is also normal. We all have it, and we all have to deal with it.

What is Fear?

The dictionary describes it as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.

Fear is one of the strongest words in the human emotional language. We would rather say we were anxious, worried or nervous than say outright we are afraid. Somehow the word fear connotes weakness or intense vulnerability so we prefer to cloak it in ambiguous language like “I don’t feel like it; it doesn’t work for me; I’m too tired, too busy, or too stressed. Fear leads to anger, inappropriate behavior, offensive language or complete rejection. We find tons of excuses to avoid ‘feeling’ the fear because we all know that fear is alarming, abrasive, unpleasant and painful.

But fear is also imagination based. We predicate our reactions on what happened in the past so it may happen in the future. We forget that in the now is the gift, the present, and we can choose whatever we want from our menu of offerings.

If fear is imagination based, then we can choose our reactions can’t we? We can make choices and decisions that take courage and risk, and although fear will never be absent from your life, you are in control of it. No one else.

So ask yourself:

  • What fears are holding you back? Are these fears real or imagined?
  • What would you have done differently if fear had not gotten in the way?
  • Where in your life do you hide your fear by filling your time with busyness, distractions or pushing the emotion away?
  • Finish the phrase: Because of fear, I abandoned my dreams of becoming…….
  • What would it look like if you could remove fear from your life? What benefits do you think you would gain?

Fear is a choice and learning how to get beyond it is the secret to living your best life now. It is the secret to overcoming any challenge in your life.

(Jacqueline Wales is known the world over as The Black Belt Millionaire. Her unique programs have helped women around the globe develop strong personal success, confident communication and clear visions of their goals. She is the author of five books including The Fearless Factor available at

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Learning Styles - the smart parents' choice for smart children

A Learning Style is the optimal way in which a child concentrates, learns new concepts and memorises information.

Learning Styles are more than Left-Brain / Right Brain

You will find many “tests” on the Internet, tests that promise to tell you whether your child’s left brain or right brain is dominant. That’s not a Learning Style, that’s just Information Processing.

Learning Styles are more than VAK

You will also find assessments that tell you whether your child is visual, auditory or kinesthetic. But will they make a distinction between visual as in watching (TV, other children) or visual as in reading (instructions, textbooks) or visual as in visualising the new material in their imagination? Will they check whether “kinesthetic” actually means external, internal or tactile?

Please see our LSA Pyramid for a complete list of the sensory modalities which may form your child’s learning preferences.

What You Can Do

Does your child think best in the morning or in the afternoon? Do they need a formal area in which to study? Will they learn quicker if they listen to soft learning music? Have a look here to find out.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Learning Styles and “Finding Nemo”

Hands up who remembers the blue fish Dory from “Finding Nemo”? The one who suffers from a short-term memory loss? (“I forget things almost instantly. It runs in my family! Well I mean... at least... I think it does. Hum... Where are they? ... Can I help you?”)

Have you ever wondered why she can’t remember anything? Or rather, she can’t remember anything she hears, and yet she has no trouble remembering how to read? In fact the only thing Dory can remember throughout the movie is the address label she’s read: “P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney”; and she only recognises Nemo’s name when she reads a prompt?

Those of you who know about Learning Styles already understand where I’m going with this one: some students learn better by listening, others by reading, others yet by doing or watching.

Of course, a person’s learning is not constrained to the senses. For optimal learning and memorising conditions, you need to take into account information processing, the learning environment, the time of day and many other factors.

Have a look at a sample Learning Style Report to see learning preferences in action.

(Some trivia about the movie “Finding Nemo”, from the IMDB website:

  • Factual errors: When the fish are in bags and the bags are in the ocean, the bags should float with their inner water level at just about the same level as the surface of the ocean.
  • Factual errors: Marlin and Dory are advised to swim to the back of the whale's throat and then are blown out of the whale's blowhole. This is not physically possible as whales mouths and digestive systems are not connected to their respiratory system and blowhole.
  • Factual errors: Coral should be bigger than Marlin. Female clownfish are always bigger than their mates.)