Learning is a natural drive. Our curiosity and quest for adventure is strong in our early years, as we learn about the world around us. Learning to walk, talk and feed ourselves is something most children automatically strive to do – and keep trying until they succeed.
Why, then, do some of us stumble in the classroom of formal learning and eventually give up trying?
Some of the answers are simple: stress, fear of failure, boredom, overwhelm. Some are more complex, where excessively disruptive behaviour alienates us from peers and authorities alike.
In both cases, there are some fundamental questions we need to ask:
- What is the child eating?
- Is there enough ‘real’ food?
- Are they sensitive to additives and preservatives in their food?
- Is the child drinking plenty of clean, pure water?
- Are they feeling intimidated by someone in their environment?
- Is the child having difficulty keeping up with the class – feeling inadequate, dumb and hopeless?
- Is the child shy and unable to ask for help?
Some of these issues can be quickly and easily identified by a caring parent or teacher, but others may need a more subtle investigation.
INTEGRATED BRAIN/BODY FUNCTION AND LEARNING ABILITY
It is widely accepted that different people have different learning styles. This begins, of course, in childhood as it is a natural tendency not a learned function. By recognizing how the child has easily learned certain tasks or information, it makes sense to apply that way of learning to new tasks or information.
However, it is not always that simple.
Sometimes there are ‘blocks’ to learning that are not obvious. These ‘blocks’ are caused by ‘interference patterns’ in the nervous system – the ability of the brain and the body to work together in certain learning situations.
The nervous system is an electro-chemical function. This means that electrical impulses followed by chemical reactions relay information from one part of the brain to another and from the brain to the body and back.
All manner of things can distort or interfere with the smooth flow of this information.
Electrical interferences can be caused by electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere – exposure to computers, television, mobile phones, high-tension wires and fluorescent lighting.
Chemical interferences can come from both external and internal sources. Food allergies, petrochemicals in the atmosphere, some medications and vaccinations can create chemical sensitivities in some children.
Emotional stress can also cause interference patterns in the nervous system. Under stress our body produces chemicals that have developed to protect us from survival threats. Unfortunately, the body doesn’t know the difference between a real threat and something that feels like one.
When the pathways of the nervous system become clogged up with ‘blocks’ or ‘interference patterns’, the brain protects the body by shutting down certain pathways to prevent further stress from within. This of course produces even more stress from ‘without’, as the other people in our life want us to perform in a certain way.
GETTING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM BACK ON TRACK
I include specialised techniques for identifying where and why stress is being held in the nervous system and gently and unobtrusively releasing it.
This does not mean that the child will be an instant genius, but they will have more access to their natural ability and enjoyment of learning.
In many cases disruptive behaviour is due to learning difficulties. If a child is having difficulty concentrating, it is usually because they’re not interested in the topic, can’t understand what is being taught or why, or simply cannot sit still and focus for lengthy periods.
These problems can be addressed by identifying the problem and releasing stress from the relevant pathways and helping the child to understand why they are being expected to behave in a particular way.
‘Attitude’ is the way we look at things – our slant on the world. If a child or young person cannot see the relevance of what they are being asked to learn, their resistance to it will often be strong. This in itself creates stress – and tension between the learner and their teachers and parents. By helping the learner to see the problem from a different perspective, and make sense of the need to learn the subject or material, much of the stress can be eliminated.
We hear language long before we can attempt to decipher it in its written form, so in order to understand what we are seeing in the written word, we must be able to convert it in our mind to something we can hear and reference to our memory of those sounds.
All manner of stresses affect this co-ordination – especially fear and anxiety, which cause a temporary break-down in communication between these centres. When we are afraid of failure, we opt out of attempting the task (reading) and believe that we are incapable of it.
Many people go through life struggling with reading and avoid reading anything but absolute necessities. Other people can read extremely well but have difficulty recalling what it is they read. This is due to a break-down in communication between the centres that process the incoming information and the memory and recall centres. The information goes in but is difficult to retrieve.
This break-down in communication can be reversed by identifying and releasing the stress patterns that caused them. These can be chemical or electrical interferences.