From a selection of teaching tips by Clinton Lamprecht.

Clinton Lamprecht founded the School of Accelerated Learning and since then has trained thousands of teaching and training professionals in brain-compatible learning strategies worldwide. A degree in psychology, a thesis in accelerated learning, an NLP Trainer and over 10 years’ experience in training and learning confirms he brings with him a rich perspective and experience in accelerated learning that will rarely be matched.

Working Smarter with Brain Breaks

Regular breaks improve learning because they give students time to make sense of information. In the classroom, children need breaks approximately every 20 minutes for learning to be effective. During these breaks, the brain becomes more relaxed and this helps new information sink in on a deeper level because the child is integrating what has been learnt on a non-conscious level. The rule of thumb is to have more beginnings and more endings to boost memory.

Action Steps

Stop after 20 minutes and get students to stand up and talk to a partner for 1 minute about the most valuable thing they have learnt, Then change chairs. Three brain friendly learning outcomes are achieved with this exercise:

  • Students get time to download and make sense of the information.
  • Learners’ emotional state changes with the movement to a new seat.
  • More primacies (beginnings) and regencies (endings) help boost memory.

Using Metaphors

Metaphors and story-telling are one of the most powerful tools for creating meaning and remembering it. Aristotle believed that metaphors were the highest form of thinking. Metaphors are linked primarily by images and stories.

Action Steps

Link a story to the content of a lesson to facilitate memory. For example, this story illustrates the benefits of regular breaks.

‘The most effective long distance runner in the animal kingdom is the wolf whose main prey are stags. At the beginning of the hunt the stag is too fast for the wolves and easily outruns the pack. After a while the wolves get tired and stop for a break. They even take time to play during these breaks while the stag continues to run and gets further and further ahead. By taking frequent breaks the wolves are able to pick up the scent again and hunt with renewed vigour. Eventually, the wolves will catch up with the exhausted stag.’

 This article first appeared in Teaching Expertise, December 2004.