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Accelerating Intelligence:

Imagination and Right Brain Learning

Einstein, who actually failed mathematics at school, was a creditable violinist and artist. His theory of relativity came one sunny day while he was along on a hill daydreaming. He imagined himself riding a sunbeam to the far edge of the universe; but in his mind's eye he saw himself returning towards the sun. This led to his theory that space, light and time had to be curved. He used imagination (right brain) and rational thought (left brain) to develop his theory.

Many scientists and inventors always talk about the intuitive flashed that gave them the idea which was then followed up by many hours of logical, analytical thinking to prove it. Surveys of creative thinking have emphasized the importance of encouraging an initial right brain visualization, an intuitive solution which can subsequently be evaluated logically by left brain processes. Let us remember the original impetus is from the nonverbal side of the brain. The important question is how this is accomplished, how do we get a blending of left and right brain coupled with the stimulation of neuron connections?

Believe it or not, it all depends on being relaxed, using your imagination and trusting yourself. Your full potential is already there, you just need to believe it. Think about how you feel when you're learning something that is fun for you. Is it easy? Are you relaxed? Do mistakes matter? How easy was it to learn? Dr Lozanov, the Bulgarian psychologist who is called the father of Accelerated Learning, discovered in his years of studying people with supernormal abilities, e.g.. Yogis with supermemory and Russians with brains faster than a computer, that at the moment these people performed astonishing mental feats their bodies were in a state of rest, their brain waves were at a relaxed rhythm (Alpha level).

They did not strain, will or coerce the mind to function. It happened effortlessly. To Lozanov here was a paradox: Relaxation coupled with intense mental work. As he discovered, this is exactly what did happen when the brain worked in Alpha level. The body was relaxed. This can explain how yogis can meditate sitting up for hours, days in fact, without sleep but be completely refreshed after they have finished.

The Alpha brain wave pattern comes about when we are relaxed and is the rhythm that the brain uses to recall information from the subconscious to the conscious. To recall information we have to be in 'alpha level' and to achieve that we have to be relaxed, having fun, enjoying ourselves. In Accelerated Learning workshops the main aim of the teacher is to help the students have fun and realize how easy it is for them to learn when they're enjoying themselves.

Lozanov's research has proven that Accelerated Learning seems to work not because it increases the capacity of the human memory, but because it over comes the negative belief systems that we have a poor memory. In other words, our wonderfully powerful brains, with 96 percent dormant abilities, are just waiting for us to free them of the negative constrictive attitudes we have about ourselves, and to stimulate them into making new cell connections.

Dr. Lozanov illustrated this by an experiment where we set out to measure just how many words of a foreign language it was possible to teach in a day using Accelerated learning techniques. The first course taught 100 words a day with a 92 percent recall. The second course taught 200 words a day with a 96 percent recall. The third course was boosted to 1000 new words in one day - the success rate was still 96.1 percent. Lozanov concluded that once you learn to open your mind the capacity to remember seems almost boundless - there is no apparent cut off point.

All the techniques that the Accelerated Learning Course contains are designed to help the mind reach 'Alpha level' and to stimulate the growth of connections between neurons. This brings the left and right hemispheres into play. Accelerated learning aims to have mind and body working together to allow you to use the full power of your being.

Teaching an accelerated learning class involves many techniques that focus on harmonizing physical/sensory, emotional, intellectual, imaginative and intuitive facets of the personality. The environment of the classroom would be designed in ways that help the student relax and have a feeling of fun and anticipation, for example comfortable reclining chairs, colourful charts and pictures, carpeted floor for relaxing and game playing, a sound system for music, plants, anything that creates a warm, positive, pleasant learning environment.

The class would begin with physical and mental relaxation and recall of a positive learning experience that has occurred in the student's past, a time in his life when he had fun learning. While teaching the lesion the teacher would use as many verbal and nonverbal clues as possible. He could act out the lesson, sing, dance, anything to help the student have fun and stretch her imagination. Good rapport is vital for good communication, in Lozanov's view. Students' text books would be designed to follow a specific pattern that enhances visualization, for example, pictures, key phrases in different colours, and a large margin to permit doodling. Students are also encouraged to take their notes using pictures, colours, doodling and as much mess as they like. The first part of the lesson, when new material introduced, is called the decoding phase.

The second part of the class is for revision. This has two phases. And the length of time for each phase is at the discretion of the teacher. The initial revision is called the active phase. Students check the text while it is being read to them. The teacher reads the lesson is the precise rhythm of four seconds talk followed by four seconds silence, with changes in voice intonation (loud, medium, soft).

Research has shown that the mind will accept over 40% more information if it is given at a slower pace (i.e., the eight second cycle). The change in intonation keeps the mind interested. Students are taught a Raja Yoga technique of holding the breath while the information is read to them. Holding the breath (four seconds) stabilizes the brain rhythm and allows the brain to readily accept new material. This has been shown to increase memory retention by us to 78 percent.

Article by Robert Kendall

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