Part 5 of the Philosophy of Memory: Review It

Creativity, Exams, Memory, Revision, Study Skills, Teaching and Learning

This step is the most important of all. Reviewing work regularly strengthens the neural connections making memories stronger. This means you can recall information easily when it matters, most in the exam.

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This graph shows what is happening to those neural connections with each review you do. We call it the Review Philosophy which is based on scientific evidence of how the brain learns and recalls information, otherwise knows as distributed practice.

Following the Review Philosophy means reviewing revision notes for ten minutes around ten minutes after writing them. A day later you review them for five minutes. A week later you review them for between two and five minutes, and the same again a month later.

Essentially, reviewing a subject in small chunks, several times in short bursts, has a far greater impact than cramming three hours before the exam.

You can download our free guide to creating a revision timetable based on the review philosophy here.

Part 4 – Unleash Your Imagination

Creativity, Education, Exams, Memory, Revision, Study Skills, Teacher Resources, Teaching and Learning

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Yes, really. You can improve how you learn, remember and recall information by unleashing your imagination. The crazy, absurd visual story you used to remember the key dates of WWII has created stronger links between neurons making it easier for your brain to recall the information when you need it most, in the exam.

So go wild, enjoy using your imagination and creativity to make learning easier.

#MemoryMatters

Philosophy of Memory Step 3: Link it together!

Creativity, Education, Exams, History, Learning, Memory, Mindset, Revision, Study Skills, Teacher Resources, Teaching and Learning

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Capturing the brain’s love of imagination and logic is a powerful way to learn. Creating a whacky story, a mnemonic, a memory palace or a number system (to name a few) is an efficient and effective way to learn.

These techniques are particularly great for lists, processes, dates, formulas, and people. But what about entire topics?

Breaking down the huge information into key points e.g. Theme, Main Idea and Details, is vital. Then you can turn it into something creative, logical and most importantly, memorable with Mind Maps. Here is an example!

Henry A - Map

 

The Philosophy of Memory Part 2; Mindset

Creativity, Education, Exams, Memory, Mindset, Motivation, Revision, Study Skills, Teaching and Learning

Henry Ford’s, “If you think you can or you think can’t, you’re right,” is the lifeblood running through all our programmes for young people. So much so, it’s part 2 of our Philosophy of Memory!

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Mindset and self – belief is vital. Memory techniques is a big part of this as they demonstrate the brain’s plasticity – it can develop and grow. Intelligence is not fixed.

Often during our workshops students are amazed at just how much they can recall when they use a technique. Their mindset is transformed from “There’s no way I can remember all that,” to “I can do it!”

Getting rid of that little fixed voice that whispers, “you can’t do this,” is one step towards conquering all those obstacles that stop pupils achieving.

You got this.

#MemoryMatters

Memory Matters.

Creativity, Education, Exams, Learning, Mindfulness, Revision, Stress, Study Skills, Teacher Resources, Teaching and Learning

The national curriculum and exam changes are transforming the way our children have to learn. They have to retain and recall huge amounts of information when it matters most, in the exam.

It is a big demand on our young people. We can meet this demand head on with *wait for it* creativity and imagination. Yes, that’s right. By unleashing the power of creativity and imagination we can empower students to learn independently with effective memory techniques, learn to learn and study skills.

Over the next five weeks we will be sharing our 5 Point Philosophy of Memory as part of our #memorymatters campaign.

The first step in our Philosophy is RELAX. 

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The brain reacts to physical stress (think hungry lion chasing you down the street) exactly the same as emotional stress (think exams). It automatically goes into flight or fight mode. Stress hormones like adrenaline, run rings around you. When stressed your body is in a high state of alert – trouble sleeping, change in appetite, fast or shallow breathing, struggling to make decisions, lacking focus – are just a few signs of stress.

It is incredibly difficult to learn, retain and recall information when your stressed so it is important to know how to relax. Here are our Top 3 Relaxation Tips that you can do even during an exam!

  1. Mindful Breathing. 

Breathe through your nose for the count of 5, then out through your mouth for the count of 5. Really focus on your breathing. This will help calm your thoughts and soon your brain will realise you’re not going to get eaten by lion (unless you are, then run.)

It’s a great, simply, subtle technique. No one needs to know you are breathing mindfully and it takes just a minute.

2. Mindful Listening. 

Close your eyes for 30 seconds and concentrate on all the sounds you can hear – a ticking clock, tapping of a pencil, a car passing, your own breathing. This will help to clear your mind, to slow down and to focus. Open your eyes and the world will be a little bit clearer.

3. The Ten Second Count

This is a variation of Tip 1 but rather than focusing on your breath, close your eyes and focus your attention on slowly counting to ten. If your concentration wanders start back at number one!

For more information about Memory Matters click here and don’t forget to check back this time next week for Step 2…!

Presenter Conference 2015

Creativity, Education, Learning Performance, Teaching and Learning

team pic-LPS

Last Saturday the day started bright and early- well perhaps not bright, but early, without doubt, even facing a flurry of snow upon arrival at the venue, ready for our Learning Performance conference.

It was amazing to have this opportunity for the whole team to be together, from our newest presenters to those who have worked on behalf of Learning Performance for up to 13 years, everyone bonded over their shared passion – education!

The team was eager to crack on with the day ahead. To kick off the day, training in our Numeracy and Literacy programme was led by one of our senior presenters. This is a fantastic 6-week programme that has been introduced into schools this academic year; with great success may I add! Applying our strategies to literacy and numeracy is vital in showing students how tangible the techniques we teach are.

Training was also given in additional programmes to increase our newer presenters knowledge, in order for them to be able to deliver more of the workshops that we offer. This was led by one of our directors-Roger Starbuck.roger image

Programmes including ‘Advanced study skills, ‘Essential study skills’ ‘Critical thinking’, ‘Communication’, ‘Employability and ‘Enterprise’- to name just a few, were covered! It definitely was a jam-packed morning full of energy.

All sessions were completed successfully, with great participation, interest and eagerness to be part of what Learning Performance has to offer. This now means we have more of our excellent presenters trained to the highest standards out on the road delivering our workshops!

Introducing the afternoon conference, the Managing Director, Carrie, made a grand entrance with presentersimage2[4] stomping and clapping “We Will Rock You” style. Like a rock star, she gave high – fives to every team member before breaking out into a motivational speech on how Learning Performance is growing in epic proportions.

The main focus of this conference was to introduce a brand new and exciting programme. With great enthusiasm and clear passion, Roger Starbuck introduced the concept of ‘Mindset’, which was very much welcomed by all!

A great explanation and interesting evidence to support it was provided. We understand the impact that the correct mindset caCarol-Dweckn have on students, staff and parents and the importance of addressing this by encouraging a growth over a fixed mindset. At Learning Performance we are now taking steps to introduce mindset into all of our programmes in order to encourge a belief system that leads individuals down the right track to success.

Our focus on making what we do relevant – which is so key, provided an opportunity for everyone to contribute ideas and take away practical solutions to the classroom. It’s important to continually share ideas and make everything as tangible for the students as possible, as this is what Learning Performance is all about. It worked really well and showed what a dynamic and committed team we have!

image5[2]It was fantastic to see each member of our team in action, sharing ideas and showing a keen interest in the new material. As always, when the team is together, there was a high level of engagement and a real buzz throughout the room.

The 2015 Presenter conference was an inspiring, diverse and interactive day, full of new and exciting information which gave a clear insight into where Learning Performance as a company are heading and what’s been going on behind the scenes. It was huge success and opportunity to not only share new content, but to give recognition to our fantastic Learning Performance team!

inspire

Written by Holly Chandler

Raising Literacy and Numeracy Standards

Creativity, Education, Learning, Literacy, Numeracy, Teaching and Learning

Last week I attended Inside Government’s Raising Literacy and Numeracy Standards Conference. As conferences go it was pretty feeble but there were some gems.

The star of the show was Kelvin Hall’s Headteacher, Sarah Smythe. In 2013 Kelvin Hall was labeled RI and by 2015 was rated Outstanding. She shared her experience. The best bit? The clear, definite statement from Sarah that there were “no magic tricks.” In fact, the school simplified things and focused on the following areas:

  1. Marking and Feedback – consistent
  2. Data Analysis – clearly defined bands
  3. High profile reading – Everyone Reads In Class
  4. TA Tutors – Period 6 was tutor time
  5. EPIC ERIC – the award winning fictional Kelvin Hall student!

Epic Eric is genius. Eric is a fictional Kelvin Hall student who is sucked into a portal transporting him to other dangerous, ghostly, pre-historic lands.

Students then have to complete certain literacy tasks, ranging from SPAG to cross devices, to submit golden tickets that allow Epic Eric to step into the next world.

They often receive 100s of gold tickets, their highest being almost 1500. It’s a whole school initiative with teachers dressing up as Epic Eric for World Book Day. It’s particularly effective in Key Stage 3 and has particularly helped to engage pupils in reading and writing.

Simple, wacky, creative. Effective. 

Wonder what Epic Eric looks like? He’s rather charming. Click here to see a past Epic Eric newsletter!

Incidentally, we worked with Kelvin Hall’s Year 11 students to help them prepare for exams in February 2015. That March they were rated Outstanding. A coincidence I’m sure…

Either way, it was enlightening learning from Sarah and Kelvin Hall’s journey. Thanks Sarah! Epic Eric

2014 – 2015 Impact Report

Creativity, Education, Pupil Premium, Study Skills
It is interesting, medical treatment is entirely based on robust evidence. A doctor wouldn’t give us a drug that was proven not work. Nor would the science community declare a new revolutionary gene, for example, without decades of research and evidence. Yet, bringing research and evidence into teaching and learning practice is a relatively new phenomenon.

When my parents started Learning Performance Training 23 years ago, they knew the transformational power learn to learn strategies had on their son. Every day since then we were confident of the impact we had on inspiring and empowering young people.

So when the Education Endowment Foundation launched their toolkit and highlighted meta-cognition and self – regulation (learn to learn skills to you and I) as a key way to raise student achievement, we all did a huge air fist pump. It solidified what we had known for twenty odd years.

I’m a massive advocate for evidence – based teaching. For UK schools to be cutting – edge and relevant in fast changing world we need research, evidence and education as a whole, to be progressive. After all, our children at the very least deserve an education that will allow them to flourish in school and beyond.

That is why, we have bought to you our 2014 – 2015 Impact Report. It is a fascinating and powerful read.

It shows staggering results on how a meta-cognition or learn to learn programme can dramatically raise attainment. Below is a snippet from the Impact Report.
St Thomas Infographic
You can download and read our 2014 – 2015 Impact Report by clicking here
Impact Report

An Interview with a Presenter

Creativity, Education, Learning, Learning Performance, Motivation, Pupil Premium, Revision, Study Skills

At Learning Performance we have such a talented and inspiring team of presenters we thought it only fair that we spread their awesomeness across the blog-a-sphere.

We caught up with our presenter, Eric, who has worked with us for over 12 years, to give you an insight into the work we do with schools across the UK.

Q: Why Did You Start Working for Learning Performance?

I have always enjoyed being around young people and wanted to work with them for a long time. I was looking into becoming a supply teacher when I learned about LP.

Q: What Was Your Background Before You Became A Presenter?

I worked for British Airways for many years. I still run corporate training there and at other organisations around the UK. I also lecture part time at a University on Sales and Marketing.

Q: Which Workshops Do You Enjoy Leading The Most?

All the workshops are fun to present. What I find most rewarding and enjoyable is trying to tap into what will most benefit the individuals in the room. It is often something to do with motivation, stress or feeling overwhelmed. I love it when they see that they can take control and get inspired to make good choices.

Q: What Is A Typical Day Like In The Life Of A Presenter?

It starts a week or so before the job when we need to plan how we will get there (we work all over the UK and sometimes Europe). We also get notes from LP letting us know what’s expected (timing, special requests, a bit about the school and students). We aim to get there at least a half an hour before we start. That gives us a chance to speak to the teachers and set up our rooms so that we are ready when the students arrive. A cup of tea is nice at this point as well!

Time to prepare in the morning can make a big difference, particularly to the all-important first impressions. There are also days when we just walk right into a classroom full of staring faces.  The challenge either way is to get them interacting and involved as soon as possible. It’s a workshop, not a lecture!

We spend most of our time introducing new concepts and getting the students to try them out. Some things take more convincing than others. I tend to tell the participants funny stories about my own life and how this stuff has worked for me.

I always try to leave the day on a high. The children or young adults we’ve spoken to should feel good about learning new techniques, but also inspired to actually use them.

Q: Why Is It So Important To Inject The Current Curriculum With Creativity? 

There are so many reasons;

1.  We learn more quickly and hold onto information better when it is creative. Try this; think of a horse. Are you picturing the word “horse” or an image of a horse? I bet it was an image. Our brains think in pictures and for memory effectiveness we often need to link words to something creative like a picture, a song, a movement, a diagram – even a smell.

2.  Long term, the best and most satisfying jobs will go to people who can come up with creative solutions to problems. Anybody can just do what has always been done, but a leader finds a new and better way. If we don’t stretch the creative side of the brain and practice the discipline to learn at school, how are we preparing ourselves to do so in business or our personal lives later on in life?

Q: Which Age Groups Do You Enjoy Working With Most And Why? 

15-18 year olds. I love working with students who are feeling adult pressures and making adult choices, but still have the open-minded optimism of youth. Sometimes you need to convince the cynics that they can learn more easily or make learning fun. I enjoy that challenge. It’s like when athletes talk about “marginal gains”. The little changes we can all make that might not make a big difference individually, but can add up to success. Often the cynical ones just need to see that they make a difference with every choice they make. They can then decide if they are willing to work for a positive or negative outcome.

Last autumn I did a number of workshops with very young children (years 1-6). Their boundless energy, excitement and unconditional love is hard not to enjoy also.

Q: Many Children Suffer From Low Self-Esteem And Low Confidence. How Do Your Workshops Address This?

Those children are the reason I got into this work in the first place. I think that lack of self-esteem is probably the biggest reason the students I see are under-performing. I get them to try tasks and see that they can succeed. I sometimes get them doing things that they are bound to fail at the first time, so we can talk about learning from mistakes and being prepared.  For this I have some complicated yoga moves that work really well.

I’m tough on them when I hear excuses and negative self-talk. It is too easy to blame personal problems for our failure; dyslexia, unsupportive family, teachers we don’t like…There are so many excuses that prevent us from trying hard. Success doesn’t come without trying hard.  Like they say, “you have to work hard to get lucky”. The most successful people are often those who had the biggest battles to fight, because they learned from an early age to be responsible for their own success (or failure).

Q: What Has Been Your Proudest Moment As A LP Presenter?

I was at a university in Essex a few years ago when a new student stopped me. He remembered me from the LP workshop I ran at his school a couple of years before. He said it was the reason he was at university. He may have been exaggerating, but I have never been as proud of what I do as I was at that moment.

Wow. Thank You For Being Part Of Our Team Eric.

Learning is Fun. Promise.

Creativity, Education, Learning, Learning Performance, Motivation, Teacher Resources

“I don’t love studying. I hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.”

Natalie Portman

I was so disheartened last night after a twitter conversation with @tesbehaviour that I fancied crawling under the bedcovers, only resurfacing for flapjacks and custard creams – the two best things in the world.

I didn’t do that, of course, tempting as it was but I did have a cup of tea with custard creams – any excuse.

A well – respected educational resource with a large following said “learning can’t always be fun.” Five trigger words that makes me want to leap onto my moral horse and gallop into the teaching battlefield screaming ‘Infidels! Fun Learning War!’ 

I am a realist. I do realise that not every lesson will be a roller coaster of rip – roaring laughter. We are teachers, not stand-up comedians. So it is important to realise ‘fun’ doesn’t just mean mucking about.

‘Fun’ is defined as something that brings pleasure or enjoyment.’  Synonyms are; interesting, engaging, & gratifying.

Surely that is exactly what learning should be?! 

To argue students misbehave because they are bored or think its funny is missing the point. Pupils shouldn’t be bored or having to seek their amusement elsewhere. Lessons that engage, interest and gratify students demonstrate that education and school has tangible value. And when we value something, we pay attention and work hard.

It doesn’t take much energy, time, planning or imagination to make learning fun and yes, this includes even so – called ‘difficult’ subjects like Maths or Science. See Lesson StartersRevision Games & Creative A – Maps for some quick & adaptable ideas.

And a big thank you to Miss Sykes & Helan Victoria who shared their enthusiasm for learning and preventing me from falling into a custard cream coma.

What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.