Intelligence and Learning


When reviewing the article below "On Line Learning" from "Time" I was reminded of when my son was young and had some gaps in his maths knowledge – due to a truly shocking teacher who had blatantly said she didn’t like boys and spent a lot of time out of the classroom attending to duties as deputy principal

 We took him to an organisation called Numberworks where trained teachers assessed each child and sat them at a computer with lessons, cleverly disguised as fun exercises – having fun being one of the keys to effective learning – which brought him up to scratch in every single area where there had been gaps.  No child knew what any other child was doing so there was no comparison or judgment and our son loved attending.  It was brilliant and an absolute godsend at the time. 

On-line Learning

I subscribe to “Time” magazine and in the Time of 9th July 2012: there is an article about Salman Khan whose online education videos are all made as youtube lessons and are being used in classrooms around the world.  If a student doesn’t quite grasp a concept in let’s say a maths lesson, or they’re away from school on the day a certain concept is taught – they can just go to the on-line lesson about that particular topic on Khan’s website.  

Some are saying this will be a revolution in education.  If you google “Salman Khan” there are many websites about him and his main website is: Khan’s hope is to give every child a chance at a free, world-class education. The site has over 3,000 short lessons that allow kids to learn at their own pace, practise exercises and sends students back to the pertinent video when they're having trouble.  

I wouldn’t be surprised if these youtube lessons also prove to be very popular with the adult population as I know of quite a few adults who would like to boost their learning and feel that there have been certain gaps in parts of their education.  I think we will be hearing more about this in the future – it is well worth a look. [So is my very helpful site which supports a lot of these principlea]

And while on the related topic of Intelligence, a friend of mine, Stuart Barwick sent me 3 DVDs from a BBC series:  which have been of great interest.  Thank you Stuart.  I would like to share the content of these DVDs and will report and summarise below.

“Make Me Smart” – presented by Dr Michael Mosley - BBC Doco  

Can we boost intelligence?  It is claimed that intelligent people are less likely to be overweight, or get divorced and actually live longer.  We all know that nutrition can play a part in nurturing intelligence and there are certain top foods to include in the diet, including fish oil and blueberries.  Most of us understand that life experience also adds to intelligence.  It has often been suggested that listening to music by Mozart can be an adjunct to learning and relaxation.  Early exposure to a foreign language is well known to be invaluable and the small window of opportunity when children are young is worth taking advantage of.

Practising problem solving leads to increased practicality and brain stimulation which helps to boost intelligence.  It is essential to use your intelligence every day – it’s like a muscle – it grows when flexed (or used).

Of course it was no surprise to me to hear mentioned how important it is to learn to control your brainwaves and spend more time in Theta – focused concentration.  Indeed the DVDs I watched echoed a lot of what I teach and espouse.

We’ve all heard of “fake it until you make it” and apparently just forming our facial muscles into the shape of a smile – even if it is a fake smile – can have many benefits by releasing endorphins and can actually make us feel better.  The very next day I saw a snippet in the daily newspaper which said that a study has shown: “…that  two people can develop an emotional bond if they pretend to find each other attractive. Study leader psychologist, Professor Richard Wiseman, from the University of Hertfordshire in the UK said: ‘Just as people feel happier when they force their face into a smile, so pairs of people behaving as if they find one another attractive become emotionally close’.”

Pleasure and Pain was the topic of another DVD –– presented by Dr Michael Mosley - BBC Doco

Pleasure is transient and above a certain threshold it turns to pain so it was claimed.  Pleasure is the driving force behind healthy behaviours such as eating, keeping warm and reproducing.

Some people gain great pleasure from thrill-seeking activities, whereas others find this sort of thing terrifying, as did Dr Mosley, although he did put himself through the exercise of plunging off the wall of a huge dam, on the end of a bungy rope to see if it would produce a feeling of pleasure.  It didn't for him.  We all know that pleasure can be a very individual thing.  The story is told of a man who cut off his own arm when he became trapped in farm machinery – either that, or the alternative was to die.  

Oxytocin which is released by the pituitary gland is becoming known as the "hormone of love" and it can greatly influence our feelings.  We release oxytocin when blissfully in love and also when experiencing the joy of seeing our newborn baby.  Oxytocin is released when women breastfeed their baby which helps with bonding and helping the woman’s body return to normal after giving birth.

Stress and fear can be a threat to this important hormone which outlines the importance of learning how to relax and access both the Alpha and Theta states

It is interesting to note that the anticipation of pain “lights up” the same part of the brain as actual pain.   One of his major conclusions was that the greatest pleasure comes being with our Loved Ones and from sharing, which also comes as no surprise.

Race and Intelligence – presented by Regeh Omaar - BBC Doco

In this confronting documentary called "Race: Science's Last Taboo", Rageh Omaar explodes myths about race and IQ and reveals what he thinks are important lessons for society. Omaar, himself a black man, interviews Dr. “Lez” (William) Henry who is also a black man, who wrote “Whiteness made Simple”.  Dr Henry says that IQ (Intelligence Quotient) tests do not measure wisdom, social intelligence, creativity or musical ability and these tests have cultural implications.  How often are all these vital considerations ignored? He also points out an increasing acceptance by young black people that being stupid is considered cool.

Is there a pecking order of intelligence amongst races?  Does a race gap in intelligence exist? In 2007, Nobel Prize winning US scientist James Watson was quoted referring to research suggesting that black people were less intelligent than other races. His comments caused major controversy and he was condemned. 

But is race even really a scientific category?

In this documentary, Rageh Omaar sets out to find out the truth, meeting scientists who believe the research supports the view that races can be differentiated as well as those who strongly oppose this view. By daring to ask the difficult questions, Omaar is able to explode the myths about race and IQ and reveal what he thinks are important lessons for society.

Lewis Terman was an American psychologist in the first half of the 20th century who was instrumental in initiating the first IQ test.  He was prominent in eugenics which is the manipulation of the human population to breed out non-intelligent people and only breed from people with a high IQ.  He was also an advocate of racial segregation.

"The Bell Curve" was a controversial book, from 1994 by psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein (who died before the book was released) and political scientist Charles Murray. Its main thrust was that human intelligence is greatly influenced by both inherited and environmental factors.

Richard Lynn is also mentioned in this DVD.  He is a British Professor of Psychology who is known for his views on racial, ethnic and national differences in intelligence. In the late 1970s, Lynn wrote that he found a higher average IQ in East Asians compared to Whites (5 points higher according to his figures).  He observed a yearly rise in IQ scores around the world which he thought might be explained by improved nutrition, especially in early childhood.  He rather arrogantly stated that he considers Australian Aborigines as having the lowest IQ in the world however I would claim that he says this in ignorance of not only their ability to increase their IQ with access to education but takes no account of the many intelligences that Aborigines living say a more traditional Aboriginal life have in regard to all their senses. [have a look at the seven intelligences at]

U.S. Professor of Psychology Richard Nisbett – states that "human cognition is not everywhere the same," that Asians and Westerners "have maintained very different systems of thought for thousands of years," and that these differences are scientifically measurable.  

He said that East Asians work harder and betterment through education are core values going back to Confucian ideals. Whilst it does seem that DNA does play a part in intelligence, he believes that the race gap is not genetic but mostly environmental.  Parents are highly important in regard to how much they talk to their children, the stimulation and opportunities they give their children.

Nisbett concedes that IQ tests do gauge abstract reasoning skills but in no way tell the whole story.

An argument in favour of environment gives the classic example of a corn seed planted on two different plots of land – one with rich soil and the other with poor soil. Although genetically identical the corn grown in the rich soil will thrive and grow better than the corn grown in the poor soil.  Nisbett believes this idea can explain the same disparity between the average IQ of Americans of European and African descent. When poor children are adopted by upper-middle-class families, they show an IQ gain of 12 to 16 points. 

The overall conclusion was that IQ scores are not set in stone and IQ is not an end in itself.  Tests are a reflection of how you grow up, which is environment.

So, these summaries may spark your interest to further explore some of these areas - I found them all fascinating.  

All the best


Success Stories

I have read your books “Student Steps To Success” and “Switch On to Your Inner Strength”. I am at uni studying psychology, and every day while I write essays, prac reports, or do my readings I have the PP1 Instrumental audio playing. It gets me to the space I need to be to focus and concentrate.
I used the achieving in exams CD, and thought perhaps I was aiming a bit high when I decided to write that down my goal of: I will get 87%  in my business stats exam, on such-and-such a date… (never believing that I would get it) and then was completely blown away when I got 91%!!!!!
I love them, use them every day and wanted to let you know I "walk the talk"!!
  TC W.A.

The techniques of using mind charts and creating a positive feeling about a particular learning activity has really helped me in achieving far beyond what I could initially believe possible.  Going into each lecture open and wanting to learn the subject matter, and going to my Peaceful Place and bringing my lecturers/teachers in there to teach me, has had an indescribable impact on how much I remember and retain from those classes.  [Everything - and more - is a the site]Then, from imprinting those lessons into my subconscious I can readily recall the knowledge in exams and for assignments, and even just in conversations with other students or family.  It makes discussing questions with teachers after class about something I didn’t completely understand at the time a lot easier as well. It’s awesome! And it makes learning so much more fun!  PC  NSW

I just wanted to share my success with you. 
Ever since I did your seminar I have been meditating, doing my goal, and releasing stress.  Finally it was the big lead-up to my final exam and my goal was - 'I easily achieve my rating (this is regarding the position I am trained for) on … and put the date.  Between each of my training sessions, I used one of your CDs during my break, also at night and in the morning when I could.  My favourites by the way, are confidence building, achieving in exams and meditation.  And sure enough, I did achieve my rating which was a great finish to 18 months hard slog and I have no doubt whatsoever that you helped me.  I probably would have got through eventually, but with your inspiration and motivation, I was able to tell myself that I could do it, really believing I could, and therefore pass my exam first time.
Thanks Sandy, my life has changed for the better with your help.


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