Why "Doodling" enhances learning:
"... I am a therapist for 30 years and personally have ADD and work with ADD adults and kids. I doodle constantly. I am always telling people when they are talking to me about something I need to be attentive to that my doodling is not distracting me but helping me focus on what they are saying. Once I was working with a group of teens in an psychiatric hospital. They came into the group room and starting sliding off the sofa, getting restless, etc. I gave each boy a clipboard, paper and markers. They immediately sat in their seat and started doodling. For the rest of the group, I had their attention. I know that ADD folks have a need to either keep tapping their toes, fingers, twirling rings on their fingers, twirling their hair....in general keep something in motion at all times. I have learned especially with children NOT to ask them to stop...it frustrates them, makes them feel misunderstood and the result will be that something else will start moving. Maybe their thoughts will start wandering...just what you don't want."
--Grace E. Katzenstein, LCSW,Clinical Supervisor, The Kinship Center,Santa Ana, CA
Three fun, Halloween-friendly icebreakers intended to be get-to-know-you and energizer activities...
Swimming in Halloween Candy?
We hope this training tip will sweeten up your learning rooms, inspire tip top performance, and use up some of that candy before it goes stale!
It! "It is a common
misconception to think that the air must be heavy with
the chosen aromas in order for them to have any effect.
In fact, the opposite is true—research has shown that
the learning-enhancing effects of aromas are best when
the odors are barely perceptible or even
imperceptible." --Joie Power, Ph.D. Dreaming Earth
Emotions and Learning
"People just do not learn very
well when unhappy, depressed, confused, angry, sad, etc.
Such negative emotions are accompanied by psychological
tension that hinders learning. Teachers need to make the
learning process enjoyable. Tell them: ‘I’ll
help you learn' , ‘Get ready to have another
nice day learning in this class.’ ‘Learning
will be easy for you.
--D.H. Schuster and C.E. Gritton,
Accelerative Learning Techniques pp. 22 & 121
"Imagery helps improve the
speed and durability of learning. It can take many forms
- Graphics (pictures, symbols, icons)
- Metaphors & analogies
- Physical objects
- Mnemonic (memory) devices
- Body language
Don’t focus on trying hard to be
funny. Instead, play a game that allows funny moments to
happen naturally. Play the "Imaginary Box."
Have each player in turn, pull "funny things"
out of your box until their "brain fries." In
round 2, ask players to pull out items that are
"banal, boring and unfunny." Creativity and
laughter will abound. And, you’ll see that some of the
funniest moments occur when no one is trying.
--Doni Tamblyn & Sharyn Weiss, The Big Book of
Humorous Training Games, p. 3-5.
"The number of minutes a
student can focus is equal to the student’s age plus
two. Adults are not much different from children. They
cannot focus for more than 15 to 20 minutes. Ideally we
should confine learning activities within those focus
minutes and then allow for some movement to redirect the
students’ attention so that processing can take
--Marilee Sprenger, Learning &
Memory, The Brain in Action p. 26
If you've never used a magic trick in training before, start by
practicing the magic trick without any story or explanation at all.
Master the steps so that you can perform it flawlessly without thinking
too hard. Even practice in front of a mirror. As you practice, start
thinking about what each part of the trick might mean. The story
that evolves will be just as important as the trick itself.
Brainteasers to Warm up the Brain
My favorite inertia-breaking
technique is to put a brainteaser on the overhead at
least five minutes before the formal start of the
session. I offer a prize to the first person or group
who can solve it successfully. Try this
beggar had a brother who died, but the blind beggar was
not the dead man’s brother. How could this be? What
relationship did the blind beggar have to the man who
--Dave Arch, All New Tricks for Trainers, p. 7.
Drawing Like a Pro
When presenting a complex picture (or even a simple one, for non-artists
like me) I simply make a transparency of the picture and project
it onto the flip chart or white board, so I can trace it with pencil
(on flips) or yellow marker (on white board). I can then either
draw on the fly or fill it in before class starts. Either way the
students think I am the best artist around!
--Levoy Morring, Convergys
The Magic of "Fiddles"
Place a basket of "fiddle toys" in the center of the learners'
tables. Don't say anything about these "aids" for an hour
or two. Notice that certain people cannot keep their hands off these
objects. They can't help it, they're kinesthetic learners. Playing
with learning aids helps them stay focused.
--Sharon Bowman, Shake Rattle & Roll
Music: Feel the Beat!
The connection between music and individuals is primitive and deep,
providing a level of communication that transcends language. Music,
when systematically applied, accelerated learning and improves the
performance of individuals.
--Lenn Millbower, Training with a Beat
On Coming Back
To get their attention and get them moving back to their seats, pick
a brief, up-beat song. Every time they hear this tune, they'll know
they have 30 seconds left before the session resumes.
Explaining Computer Remotes
Infrared Remotes: Require a line-of-sight from the remote to the
receiver. Because the technology is less complex, infrared remotes
often have more customizable buttons.
Radio Frequency Remotes: No line-of-sight is required, so you don't
have to point the remote at the receiver.
Using Flip Charts
- Check that you have enough paper for the amount of
writing you intend to do.
- Check that it is positioned where all the group can see
- Check you have pens and that they work. Use color pens
- Write legibly, i.e., large, clear writing.
- Use headings, and subheads as appropriate.
- Take your time when writing.
- Plan what you are going to write.
- When not needed as visual support, turn to a blank
- Watch your spelling.
- Drawing etc. can be prepared invisibly in light (yellow)
pen and filled in during presentation.
--Carolyn B. Thompson, Training Systems, Inc.
Play the Memory Game
If you have a list of things you want your group to remember, play
the memory game. Whoever receives the tossed ball must name an item
on the list. Then, ask that person to toss the ball to someone else.
This game offers a wonderful opportunity for kinesthetic learning.
--Carolyn Thompson, Training Systems
Game Show Buzzers are GREAT
Game show buzzers are great for eliminating classroom fights over
who gets to answer a question first. Stand-alone buzzers are used with game show software, or alone
for any impromptu classroom questioning activity. Light or number
monitor indicates winning team. Software-required buzzers require software for operation. Game Show
software displays which team answered first.
A Surprising Icebreaker
A facilitator for New Employee Orientation reports, "to help
newcomers get to know each other ASAP, I ask each person to allow
me to place a name tag on their back. Each of these tags has been
prepared with a fictitious name ( i.e. Superman, Elmer Fudd, George
Washington, etc.) I then challenge each individual to find out what
his or her name is by asking questions of others in the room."
--e-mailer, name withheld
"It's not what you give them, but what they take away that
If you can get them to keep their course completions certificates, it not only reminds them of what they learned but helps you to advertise your course.