Last week’s column discussed preparation for learning. Preparation involves understanding. This week we review some known facts about how the brain functions and how to use it for preparing education routine.
Fact: how the brain functions?
Firstly the brain consists of two parts simply known as the left-brain and the right-brain. Linking the two sides of the brain is the corpus callosum. A bundle of nerve tissue containing approximately 200 million axons (nerve fibres) allowing information to seamlessly travel from one side of the brain to the other. For maximum learning efficiency the corpus callosum should be acting in full capacity. Scientists have shown that the efficiency of the corpus callosum decreases as the frequency of brain patterns increase, with maximum benefit occurring when the brain is in alpha mode of 12 cycles per second, (cps). This is known as the alpha mode of brain frequencies.
The brain increases in cps as a result of distractions or stress. We have all heard the derided term memory block. And this is an often-used excuse for examination failure. Some teachers and educators discount this excuse, but memory blocks are real. They occur when the brain is operating in high beta mode of more than 17 cps. At these high frequencies the corpus callosum completely shuts down, not allowing communication between the two sides of the brain. This is devastating in an exam because most of our long-term memory is housed in the right-brain while our left-brain is being used to complete the examination.
Preparing education routine
Closing the corpus callosum denies real learning because anything learnt under these conditions is stored in the short-term memory of the left brain and is not retained for future use.
The technical terms used here may be a little confusing. In layman’s terms children learn best when they are relaxed and comfortable in a warm friendly environment, free from distractions. Under these conditions the brain frequency is low. The brain is said to be in either low beta mode or alpha mode. The same applies to examination technique. Children performed under exam conditions when they are relaxed and confident. I have prepared a small booklet, Examination Preparation, with guidelines designed to ensure maximum benefit under exam conditions.
You can download the booklet at: www.mastercoachingaustralia.com/ free-lessons/study-skills.
See: The Weekender (Page 64)