Empowering Students Through Accelerated Learning (page 3)
[Note: This article is written primarily for educators; however, parents can glean valuable insights, as well, particularly in terms of how a student's homework/study area can be made more conducive to effective learning. It is also worth noting that Accelerated Learning is at the root of the Quantum Learning methods we developed for and use at SuperCamp.]
Developed in the mid-1970's, Accelerated Learning is based on the work of Dr. Georgi Lozanov, a professor with a specialty in psychiatry and psychotherapy from Bulgaria, now living in Austria. His early program focused on learning a foreign language that included relaxation, visual arts, and music. It produced noteworthy results. Students learned from one hundred to one thousand new vocabulary words a day with ninety-eight percent retention or better. The potential seemed limitless.
At the root of Lozanov's work is the idea that suggestions can and do affect the outcome of learning. Some of the ways to reinforce learning are: creating a positive environment, using music, active and passive concert readings, posters and artifacts, increasing active individual participation, and having a well trained teacher in the use of these methods. Numerous variants and syntheses of Lozanov's original work are now applied to all subjects and referred to as Accelerated Learning.
Accelerated Learning can be defined as empowering students to learn faster, more effectively and with more joy. Research shows that accelerated learning techniques can enhance retention and performance, and that students who use accelerated learning methods become more effective learners. Content becomes more meaningful and is remembered longer.
Accelerated Learning programs are geared toward teaching the whole person. They are multifaceted, encompassing a wide variety of creative methods and techniques based on current theories and research of how people learn best. It embraces the theory of multiple intelligences, learning styles, neurosciences and cognitive psychology. Important components include the emotional state of the learner, respect for learning differences, the use of music, a positive, safe and joyful atmosphere, stimulating and nurturing surroundings, physical movement, interactive projects, and games. Included in the teaching frame is the use of powerful motivation, activations, metaphors, imagery, peer teaching, demonstrations, review, and celebration.
Accelerated Learning is a synthesis of many methods and techniques. The power comes in the orchestration of how these methods and techniques come together to create effective, meaningful and joyful learning.
Accelerated Learning incorporates the use of music, art and color as well as a focus on the physical environment, emotional atmosphere, languaging and more.
Music has a powerful effect on the learning environment, influencing pace, mood and energy level. Research substantiates the use of baroque (Bach, Corelli, Tartini, Vivaldi, Handel, Pachelbel) and classical (Mozart, Satie, Rachmanioff) music to stimulate and maintain optimal learning. Baroque’s steady 60-80 beats per minute, melodic chord structures and instrumentation assists your body to access an alert yet relaxed state whereby stimulating receptivity and perception allowing you to perform better and remember more. Playing upbeat contemporary music between learning sessions stimulates your body toward movement and changes your state to optimize learning by energizing and refocusing attention. (Quantum Teaching, DePorter, Reardon, Singer-Nourie)
The Arts can be used to facilitate self-understanding, emotional involvement and the application of knowledge to real life situations. The visual arts, drama, music and movement, all have a place in accelerated learning.
The Physical Environment positively or negatively affects the experience. Lozanov believes everything makes an impression; there is no neutral. Attention to temperature, acoustics, seating, color, decor, and lighting, are all-important. Studies show that students attending schools with natural light out-performed other students. Natural light introduces variation, life, and drama into otherwise common spaces. (Stichler Design, 1999)
One of the most effective ways of stimulating the right brain is the use of color. Colorful rooms invite interest and curiosity and appeal to the emotions. Ideally the walls should be painted in attractive pastel colors…(The Creative Trainer, Lawlor & Handley)
For optimal learning, choose yellow, beige or off-white. Those colors seem to stimulate positive feelings. The most neutral color? A textured, light gray. (The Learning Brain, Jensen)
How you configure the seating plays an important role in the orchestration of learning. In most classroom situations student desks can be arranged to support the learning objectives for any given lesson. For student presentations, teacher lectures, videos, etc. arrange the desks so that students are facing forward to help them stay focused at the front. For group work, students’ desks are turned to face one another. What you're trying to achieve is flexibility.
Accelerated learning includes the use of affirmation and content posters. Using visual images strengthens initial learning and reinforces long-term memory. Your brain speaks to itself through these associative images. This intra-brain communication is characterized by metaphoric-symbolic language.
A safe atmosphere infused with trust, play and joy are essential in an accelerated learning environment. Emotional engagement makes learning more meaningful and permanent. When the brain perceives threat or distress, its neural capacity to reason rationally is minimized and the brain can not access higher order thinking.
Metaphors and storytelling make subjects come alive with color, depth, and positive emotions. They bring stronger meaning to any subject. Visualization skills enhance spelling, memory, creativity, and other abilities.
Accelerated Learning is presented in a specific design frame. Many variations have been formulated from Dr. Lozanov's original design. Lessons begin by making the students feel welcome and relaxed, followed by expectations, experiences, explanations, review and celebration.
All of the above are elements of Accelerated Learning, yet a most important element is a shift in the mind set of the teacher—one believing in the capabilities of the students and their unlimited potential.
Originally the focus of Accelerated Learning was with learning foreign languages. It is now applied to the learning and teaching of all subject matter and used in classrooms, corporate trainings and personal learning with students of all ages. Accelerated Learning has been embraced by entire schools, youth programs, universities, corporate training departments in both service and technical fields, government agencies, and language schools.
Reprinted with the permission of Learning Forum International.
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