Learning involves filling our knowledge-bank with information, and teaching does just that. However when a student is struggling to learn, or when a student wants to expand how much they can learn, teaching has its limitations because it does little to expand the brain’s capacity to hold more information. It’s like trying to fit six gallons of water into a five gallon tank. A more logical approach should involve increasing the brain’s capacity to handle information in terms of quantity and even speed.
Brain training research is exploding in the area of education and neuropsychology, and educators are finally starting to understand the role that overall brain-ability has on our children’s education, specifically as it relates to mathematics, reading fluency, comprehension, and the student’s overall motivation to learn. But brain ability is not so much about what they learn, as much as it is about how much they can learn.
Processing skills, also known as brain skills, are the ‘muscles’ of the brain. They are responsible for how information enters the brain, which information enters, and how much of it enters. Therefore the development of these underlying brain skills are an essential part of every student’s learning potential, yet teaching or tutoring alone do little to influence growth in these areas.
Attention and memory are just some of the brain ‘muscles’ responsible for how kids (and adults) learn. Consider what difference it would make in your own life if you were able to increase your focus and memory capacity by three years in just weeks. When these muscles are weak they limit a student’s academic performance and are the cause of most learning deficits, but when they are strong, they can make the difference between being an average student or an above-average one. Teaching is essential in the learning process, but it is often limited in the way it can help students reach their potential.
Next time your youngster is studying there spelling words practice having them spell the words in their head backwards. This will do more than just challenge them. It will force them to visualize the words with more intensity, since without visualizing the words, it would be close to impossible to do. This is a brain skill known as visual processing that is essential for good reading comprehension.
Since ‘brain muscles’ determine how much a student can lift, it makes perfect sense to have a professional measure your child’s brain skills at the start of the school year so they can identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and create an individualized training plan to strategically improve their ability from the start.
Dr. Fabian Redler, is the President of What’s On Your Mind, Inc. (a.k.a. LIFT Learning Centers) and can be reached for a consultation at 305-937-6463. Helping kids reach the stars since 2000 www.woym.net.