Empowering students by developing their understanding of how they learn.

Making the Most of Your Abilities George Dr D. ISBN 1901444066

Dr David George is without a doubt the activities knight in shining armour for teachers of gifted and talented students. If you are looking for resources and ideas I cannot recommend a better place to start than Dr David George’s books.

Making the Most of Your Abilities is a small book of resources that introduce students to the concepts of learning styles, creativity and mind mapping. The key to these resources is that they empower the student by developing their understanding of how they learn. I must emphasise that they are only a starting point. The book provides simple suggestions about how revision of key words may be done effectively depending on the student’s preferred learning style. I would want to develop these skills further with my students and look for ways to help them access other learning styles more effectively.

The first part of the book asks the student to consider how they learn best. This is done through a number of activities aimed at identifying their intelligences and talents. The second part looks at mind mapping, improving thinking skills and the whole person, such as Nourish Your Brain! It would be worth noting here that Dr David George provides a definition of talent that differs from that provided by the government’s EiC initiative. He provides mathematics, music, art, science and athletics as examples of talent whereas we are following the EiC definition in which mathematics and science fall into the gifted domain.

Why do I think it is so good? It is hard to introduce the concept of different learning styles and thinking skills in a way in which students find useful and engage them enough so they develop their skills. This book is a great place to start looking at study skills and would be effective early on in their secondary school education – year 7 or 8. I have used the book to develop resources for use in PSHE/citizenship lessons to start our year 8 students thinking about how to revise and study at home. Making the most of your abilities is a great introduction to the skills that our students need to make the transition from high ability to high achievers.

Review by Naomi Hennah, G&T coordinator at Brooke Weston CTC.