Rapid Learning Practices: Research


VIDEO: Expressing Creativity

Brenda Walker on the Capacity of the Creative Mind


Kinetic Learners:  Learning with movement

Many Kinetic Learners (KLs) fall through the education system and in many cases are misunderstood, misdiagnosed with various syndromes: or branded plain disruptive.

KLs are interesting because they need to move and learn rather like we would have done in our natural environment.  They have a natural ability in most mobile activities: certainly when it comes to any interesting activity they are often the first to brim with infectious enthusiasm.

Many succeed and become great leaders, despite common place conflict, experienced throughout difficult school years.

Where can we start to adjust our personal educational interaction in order to transcend these problems if they arise?

We are all Kinetic Learners to some degree.  Our own birth experience itself developes our central nervous system responses via Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR), translating this momentous transition into a blue print of our emotional reflexes and responses for life.

It teaches us perhaps in some primary way that transition gives many positive things: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Yet in formal education transition is dependent upon static arduous processes.

Learning difficulties seem complex on the face of it, because they affect and usually expressed by the learner emotionally.  Learning is emotional after all.

Could sharing this emotional vulnerability be the key to mentoring confidence and enjoyable study together?

Attending how our students feel… on their numerous levels.

And importantly by remembering how we educators felt in similar situations not too long ago.

Nick Garrett


An Education fit for tomorrow?  Sir Ken Robinson speaks

At 8 minutes Ken talks about convergent thinking and it is fascinating…


Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR)

Emerges 18 weeks in utero to stimulate the balance mechanism and increase neural connections.

  • ATNR assists birth process and is reinforced by it
  • fully present at birth
  • Develops eye-hand coordination, trains one side of the body at a time; extends ability to focus from 17 cm to arms length
  • inhibited about 6 months of life (so that focus on distant objects can develop)
  • ensures free passage of air when baby is in the prone position, increases extensor muscle tone.

When retained, the ATNR can result in the following manifestations:-

  • Homolateral movements when walking, marching skipping instead of cross-pattern movements
  • Difficulty crossing the midline, can’t manipulate objects with both hands, poor ocular pursuit movements, fails to establish a preferred hand/eye/leg/ear and hence a dominant side so that movements are always slightly hesitant
  • Mixed laterality
  • Poor handwriting and poor expression of ideas on paper
  • Visual-perceptual difficulties (symmetrical representation of figures)

We can see the ATNR reflex at work when a baby turns its head to one side and the limbs on that side straighten. The limbs on the other side bend or flex.

ATNR should be switched off at six months of age

The retention of this reflex causes the most interference with a child’s learning process. It is responsible for problems with:

  • Handwriting – problems with handwriting is the most obvious casualty of the retained ATNR –  each time a child turns his head to look at the page, his arm will want to extend and the fingers will want to open. Holding and working a pen or pencil for any length of time will require enormous effort. This leads to very heavy pencil grip and tension in the body. All the energy is now going into the writing and distracts attention from the writing content. Some children learn to compensate with an immature pencil grip. Writing may slope in different directions from one side of the page to the other so the child may rotate the page as much as 90 degrees when writing in an attempt to “accommodate” the effect of ATNR. Fluent expression of ideas in written form may show a marked discrepancy from the child’s ability to express themselves orally
  • Reading – Eye tracking difficulties – when reading the eyes do not move smoothly from one side of the page to the other, they frequently jump. This can result in loosing your place, loss of accuracy and loss of comprehension.
  • Mixed Laterality – Child may use left foot, right hand, left ear or child may use left and right hands interchangeably for the same task. The effect of mixed laterality can be failure to send information to the most efficient centre of the brain for that skill. Competition between 2 centres may occur, which is very like two people trying to drive the same car.


Cephalocaudal Principle

First, most children develop from head to toe, or cephalocaudal. Initially, the head is disproportionately larger than the other parts of the infant’s body. The cephalocaudal theory states that muscular control develops from the head downward: first the neck, then the upper body and the arms, then the lower trunk and the legs. Motor development from birth to six months of age includes initial head and neck control, then hand movements and eye-hand coordination, followed by preliminary upper body control. The subsequent six months of life include important stages in learning to control the trunk, arms, and legs for skills such as sitting, crawling, standing, and walking.

The Central Nervous System (CNS) is the control centre for all thinking, learning, and moving. The development of an efficient CNS is complex yet a certain amount is understood. There are many factors which contribute to a person being able to move well, speak fluently, play and develop the skills necessary for every day living and learning. The development of the CNS commences from conception, develops in a regular sequence and is the same for all humans regardless of cultural influences.

Parts of this regular sequence of developmental stages are identified by the movement patterns which occur at each stage. These have been called reflexes. Each reflex is seen to play a part in the necessary growth of the foetus or young child. Each reflex also prepares the way for the next stage of development. Thus in the development of an infant from conception to birth, and on to the toddler stage, there is a sequential occurrence of survival or primitive reflexes.


More links to: the Principles Of Development


Motor Development – Transition From Reflex Movement To Voluntary Movement, Principles Of Development, Motor Milestones, Assessment Of Gross Motor And Fine Motor Development http://social.jrank.org/pages/435/Motor-Development.html#ixzz174PYYY9z

Spirit-Child: The Aboriginal Experience of Pre-Birth Communication



Case Studies


Feel the Dream Project

Matched transition programme for
Hartlepool LEA

Project Background: The Feel the Dream project is based on the key principles developed from the ‘Visions and Dreams’ Summer school created by Ruth Chalkley in 2001 for East Middlesborough EAZ for Able Introverted’ pupils. Feel the Dream in Hartlepoollooks at whether the success from this summer school can be replicated in any other authority and with different individuals, with the focus shifting from looking at catering for pupils preferred learning styles to supporting the needs of kinesthetic learners. Target pupils were tracked in the final term of their primary school and into their first year in secondary through a variety of OOH activities including summer activity (summer activity funded out of Hartlepool LEA standards fund).

Project Focus:

To create a ‘matched transition curriculum’ through out of hours activities at Y6 and Y7 along with the summer school curriculum.

Impact of Primary Lead up sessions

Quotes from pupils and tutors

“As an adult learner and teacher, I’ve been made more aware of how I relate to all three areas of accelerated learning. It has made me think about my teaching and how I can access each child’s learning style in my lessons. I’ve found that the children who are auditory enjoy music, stories, watching films and chatting. Those who are kinaesthetic enjoy drama, P.E., science, D.T. etc.” Tutor

“It has made me also realise that when recording work, the children need some structure but also need independence to express ideas in their preferred style. This became apparent when children were asked to do a presentation about themselves and the auditory learners did a tape, the kinaesthetic created a book.” Tutor

“I learnt that doing things with your own hands is better, rather than watch somebody else do it and tell you about it and how it feels.” Pupil

“I liked the words scattered all over the board because it puts a little spring into the work.” Pupil


No. pupils 1 2 3 4 5

SAT level achieved 8

“It was lovely to see the class working and sharing together so actively. I was amazed by the positive comments I heard while the children were writing on large pieces of paper. It seemed to make a huge difference to them.” Tutor

“All the children have said how much they have enjoyed the various activities over the last 6 weeks. The best bits for me have been the social opportunities getting to know the children and learn about their interests outside school. It’s also been nice to have so many creative opportunities that never seem to fit into the ordinary school day…..overall a wonderful experience for us all” Tutor

“On a personal note, I myself have enjoyed myself immensely, could that be because I am a kinaesthetic?” Tutor

Summer Activity

A week long learning experience for Y 6 pupils transferring to Brierton School Aims 5 pupils from each feeder primary who had been identified as having strong kinaesthetic learning tendencies and were transferring to Brierton school were taken forward from the primary out of hours sessions to attend at week long learning experience in the summer holidays. The summer activities aimed to assist students in further exploring their learning styles and to prepare them for transition to Brierton in the new school year (see Appendix 3 for thinking behind the summer activity and OOH models).


The summer activity programme was delivered by a range of staff from both feeder primaries and Brierton school. Activities took place both at Briertonschool to work towards helping students in their transition in the new year and at Summerhill. Summerhill is a 100 acre council owned site on the edge of Hartlepool offering outdoor educational pursuits, an ideal setting for kinaesthetic learners (for summer activity framework see Appendix 3)

Activities looked closely at the needs of kinaesthetic pupils, working with them to both round out their needs as learners and to specifically structure their learning to take account of their hands on, emotive needs.

The summer activity consolidated and brought forward the learning that had taken place in the primary lead up sessions.9

Target pupils 5 pupils from each feeder primary who were identified by their own school as having strong kinaesthetic learning tendencies.

Impact of Summer School

Quotes from pupils and tutors

“What I want to be when I grow up is a designer because this week I have felt well making group decisions and how we are going to make things….” Pupil

“I surprised my self in doing a dance in front of an audience. I wouldn’t even dance at the school disco. I think this has helped to stop me being shy” Pupil

“ I have surprised myself in doing the masks…it made me feel good inmyself…..I’ve learned that if I get on task I am well behaved” Pupil

“I love doing dance because it is really enjoyable. Doing dance makes me feel like a different person….I want to be a footballer…I leant how to be a team…work is really hard in class…I thought dance would be a challenge but it was really easy…” Pupil

“ I learn more by doing stuff not listening. I have surprised myself that I didn’t get restless because when I listen I can’t keep still. It was really fun today but hard because I couldn’t draw on my plate . I tried and I succeeded. My picture isn’t perfect but I tried. I felt good doing this because I learnt a lot” Pupil

“ The thing that sticks in my mind is Matt and Daniel dancing and really enjoying it and letting all their shyness float away into mid-air and letting the group get to know them more” Tutor

“This really suited me because I learnt because we were touching things and listening I learn better when I touch things…When the Romans came I felt sick because they were talking about blood and guts….I think today has been fantastic because of all our art work and people’s dances” Pupil


Learning Styles Implementation at Tumbarumba High School

Tumbarumba High School is a small isolated school situated in the foothills of the New South Wales Snowy Mountains. We receive federal government funding through the Country Area Program (CAP) – an equity program designed to help overcome the potential problems of isolation and to support students to maximise their learning outcomes. All CAP schools are required to develop programs which address three criteria:

  • Quality Improvement;
  • Quality Teaching and Learning;
  • and Quality Technology in Teaching and Learning using the nine steps Quality Improvement model.

As part of our planning for 2004 our school successfully submitted a proposal to the CAP District Committee for additional funding to conduct a Learning Styles seminar for teachers from a number of small schools. This was facilitated by Barbara Prashnig. The following is a record of our school’s journey to date.1. Select the Opportunity for Improvement Successful learning cannot be seen in isolation. Therefore to maximise our students’ learning we believed that we had to build a stronger more co-operative partnership between parents, students and teachers, based on how children learn. In so doing webelieved that we could provide students with a solid framework for life-long learning and future success.

Learning Plan pro forma:  Example for Media studies group


Council for the Study of Community Colleges 45th Annual Conference, April 4-5, 2003, Dallas, Texas

Empowering Lifelong Learners through Knowledge of Individual Learning

Processes: A Case Study at One Community College

Ellengray G. Kennedy, Iowa State University


This study was motivated by the concern that learning often eludes students due toineffective study strategies, poor understanding of teacher expectations, limited knowledge ofindividual learning preferences, and a general confusion over what is superfluous and what is meaningful (Armstrong, 1999). The purpose of this study was to determine if students, and specifically students from a small, rural Midwest community college, can learn strategies that enhance their ability to learn, reduce intimidation, and thus manage stress during the learning process in order to maximize learning potential. Thus, the study examined learning strategies andstyles from the perspective of the learners. It examined how learners can benefit from an understanding of how they learn best, and how the individual learner can use this understanding of learning strategies and styles to take responsibility for creating an environment that maximizes learning potential.

Tools, such as the LSA tool and training, are available to assist individuals in assessing their preferred learning styles. According to Prashnig (1998), the learning style model developed by Dunn & Dunn is a research instrument containing scientifically researched style elementswhich are biological and remain fairly stable over a lifetime. With this common method, stakeholders can work collectively or individually to create positive learning environments and to develop an appreciation of diversity in individual learning (Prashnig).

Research Questions:

Two overarching research questions and four exploratory questions were developed for this study:

Overarching Research Question I:

What are the changes in learning when individual learners gain knowledge of their preferred learning styles?

Exploratory Questions:1. As a result of the LSA tool and training, how, if at all, do learners feel empowered and responsible for their learning, thus, creating an environment conducive to successful and satisfactory learning?

2. How, if at all, has the LSA learning experience changed student grades?

Overarching Research Question II:

What do students perceive as the outcome of the LSA too land training on their educational and personal lives?

Exploratory Questions:

3. How has the LSA learning experience affected students’ satisfaction with their educational experiences?

4. Do students feel more or less stress with their academic experiences?


Expressing Creativity

Brenda Walker on Creative People
Capacity of the Creative mind


“Sir Ken Robinson” “Changing Paradigms” “edge lecture” education culture …

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