Archive for the ‘increase learning ability’ Category

The Effects of Multitasking on Learning

November 23, 2014

multitask2When today’s students are studying, it’s common for them to also be texting, emailing, and posting on Facebook and other social media sites. And while is the social and emotional world young people live in today, scientists and educators are concerned that multitasking while learning can put students at a disadvantage.

Evidence from psychology, cognitive science, and neuroscience suggests that when students multitask while doing schoolwork, their learning is far spottier and shallower than if the work had their full attention. They understand and remember less, and they have greater difficulty transferring their learning to new contexts.

That is because these multitasking operations are actually quite mentally complex. They draw on the same mental resources—using language, parsing meaning—demanded by schoolwork. Under most conditions, the brain simply can’t do two complex tasks at the same time, unless the two tasks are both very simple and don’t compete with each other for the same mental resources. But if someone is listening to a lecture while texting, they are engaging in two very demanding tasks, each of which uses the prefrontal cortex of the brain.

Researchers offer this bit of advice if you have a multitasking student:

Do 15 uninterrupted minutes of homework. Then take a “tech break”—two minutes to text, check websites and post on social media to satisfy the craving for electronic communication. Then it’s back to the homework for another 15 minutes.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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Physical Activity Improves Children’s Thinking Skills

October 16, 2014

kidsexerciseThere is increasing evidence that being active helps not just children’s waistlines but also their brains.

A recent study published in Pediatrics shows that 7- to 9-year-old children who run around and play for at least 70 minutes a day demonstrate improved thinking skills, particularly in multitasking, compared to children who aren’t as active.

For the study, researchers looked at a nine-month after-school program during which students spent 70 minutes running around and playing tag, soccer, jump rope and other games. In one multitasking test, children were shown a character on the screen and indicated with a thumb press whether the character was a certain color and a certain shape. Children who participated in the program were significantly faster and more accurate at identifying the color and shape than children who weren’t exercising.

Scans of the children’s brains showed increased brain activity during the task, in a network known to correspond to paying attention. Interestingly, the changes in brain activity correlated to the amount of time kids spent in in the program. The more times they attended, the greater the change.

Exercise encourages the brain to work at optimum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage. Animal tests have also illustrated that during exercise their nerve cells release proteins known as neurotrophic factors. One in particular, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health, and has a direct benefit on brain functions, including learning.

Optiminds offers customized tutoring programs for students, including students who are home schooled. We have earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Help Your Child Concentrate Better

August 23, 2014

At a time when multitasking (texting, listening to music, surfing the Internet)— is becoming the new normal, you may find that your child is having trouble focusing on the task at hand.

If you can establish effective focus strategies and concentration skills at an early age, you will have provided a foundation for long-term success in high school, college and the professional working world.

Here are some practical and manageable tips parents can use to help their children focus:

Set expectations early—Explain to your children that just as you have many important responsibilities (at home, at work, in your community, etc.), learning is their most important “job” right now. Establish a routine for homework and studying by including younger children in homework by having them color or look at books while older children are doing homework.

Divide big projects into small tasks—Big projects can overwhelm. Splitting the task up will give your child the feeling of progress as the pieces are completed.

Manage distractions—Set up rules such as: no television, phone or computer until homework is done. Research has found that certain types of music such as classical and instrumental help people concentrate better, so consider playing Bach, Mozart or Beethoven.

Use time to increase focus— Sometimes setting a short period of time will help a child focus longer. Set a timer for a particular task that your child can work to “beat.” One rule of thumb is that a child can focus on a single activity for about one minute per year of age.

Establish rules for doing homework—Make a rule that your children’s homework and studying be completed (neatly and correctly) before going out to play. As seasons and activities change throughout the year, be flexible and adapt to changing schedules.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. We also have specialists in college counseling and athletic college prep counseling on our staff. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

Is Your Child Struggling at School?

October 23, 2013

School has been back in session for a few weeks now. If you are noticing that your child seems anxious, distracted, struggling at school or exhibiting poor behavior, Optiminds can help.

It’s a reality that schools are not equipped to handle the individualized demands that every student brings. As a parent, you know better than anyone if there are changes in your child’s behavior—impulsiveness, frustration, being overwhelmed. When a child struggles with these things, it affects his or her ability to process information properly. It is inevitable that they will have difficulty learning in school—unless they learn how to overcome these obstacles.

Dr. Jane Stewart realizes that often parents need help too.  Through Optiminds, Dr. Stewart offers coaching and parenting programs to help parents handle their children’s behavioral or educational issues. Optiminds gives parents the tools they need to make positive strides in their relationships as well as tools to steer their children in positive directions.

Optiminds’ individualized tutoring and brain training programs are designed to increase mental capacity, process information better and faster, and improve mental performance, cognitive skills and adaptability.

The Optiminds staff will consult with you and evaluate your child to identify problem areas or learning disorders. We will then design a plan that includes: mental exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills accompanied by recommendations for diet and physical exercise. Call us today for an initial consultation.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Study Tips to Take the Stress Out of School

August 15, 2013

The new school year is just over a month away. If you are starting college or high school, you will be dealing with a totally new environment, a load of classes and mountains of homework that could be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan for dealing with it.

One of the biggest stressors is not having enough time to do everything, which can dramatically affect your ability to process what you learn in class.

Here are some practical study tips from Anne Crossman, author of Study Smart, Study Less for students of all ages:

  • Learn to manage your time. Map out a daily schedule, including school, sports or music practice, study time and free time.
  • Determine what time of day is your best in terms of studying, block it out and commit to it. Maybe your best time is right after school, or maybe you need a break first before you can hit the books again. Best not to put study off until it’s late and you are getting tired.
  • Create a study environment that is most efficient for you. Turn off your phone, don’t get on the Internet or get involved in social networking if it’s your designated study time. Turn off television and music. Contrary to what most students think, the brain works faster if it does not have to block out noise or images. Don’t study on your bed, either; your brain is programmed for sleeping and relaxing there.
  • As soon as you can after a class or lecture, find a quiet place where you can rewrite your notes and structure them in a way that makes sense to you.

If you feel that learning is still a struggle, consider enrolling in an Optiminds’ brain fitness program. We will customize a program for your specific needs that is designed to strengthen nerve cells and stimulate targeted areas of the brain to improve your cognitive and concentration skills.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Tutoring for Children with Learning Disabilities

July 15, 2013

learndisability1If your child has learning disabilities or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they could benefit greatly from the one-on-one attention provided by a qualified tutor. Working in concert with parents and teachers, a tutor can help your child by reinforcing specific subject matter, helping with homework, suggesting improvements in organization and other study skills, and serving to bolster your child’s self-confidence.

A recommendation that your child might profit from working with a tutor often comes from a teacher or a school’s learning specialist or guidance counselor. But as a parent, you are the one who has the deepest insight into your child’s needs and may see the need for tutoring before the school does.

You may want to investigate tutoring for your child if you answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions:

  • Is there a particular subject or type of assignment that almost always gives my child trouble?
  • Does my child have difficulty studying effectively for tests?
  • Does my child have trouble with “executive skills” such as organizing, planning, or seeing a project through to completion?
  • Is my child unhappy or anxious about schoolwork?
  • Is completing homework a recurring battle in my family?
  • Has my child’s teacher (or guidance counselor or learning specialist) suggested tutoring?

Tutoring should not be solely about getting better grades. A tutor can also help your child improve skills and develop more effective ways to study and get their homework done. Your child’s progress depends on many things: the number of sessions, a tutor’s strategies, your child’s cooperation and mood, the assistance of teachers, and the help and support you provide as a parent.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Optiminds’ Math Strategies Training

June 18, 2013

Optiminds offers Math Strategies training for students ranging from kindergarten through high school.

Our focus is on helping students process critical information and learn how to retain it. We utilize techniques designed to stimulate targeted areas of the brain, including:

  •     Computerized drills
  •     Mental exercises
  •     Visualizations
  •     Cause and effect
  •     Sequencing
  •     Bloom’s Taxonomy
  •     Learning to answer the question “Why?”

A key part of this training focuses on logical thinking skills—an important foundational skill of math.

Learning mathematics is a highly sequential process. If you can grasp a certain concept, fact, or procedure, you then will be able to grasp others that come later, which depend upon it. For example, to understand fractions you must first understand division. To understand simple equations in algebra requires that you understand fractions. Solving “word problems” requires knowing how to set up and manipulate equations, etc. Students are also taught time concepts, numerical reasoning and strategies for solving story problems.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Everyday Tips for Maintaining and Improving Your Brain

March 25, 2013

Spring is here and it’s a great time to sweep out the mental cobwebs and get your brain in shape. Here are some tips you can implement every day to keep you and your brain on track.

  • Appreciate your brain as a living, constantly changing entity.
  • Nourish your brain with good food. The brain weighs only 2 percent of body mass but consumes over 20 percent of the oxygen and nutrients we take in. The benefits of eating well extend to your brain as well as your body.
  • Your brain benefits from physical activity. Physical exercise enhances neurogenesis, which is the growth of new neurons in the brain.
  • Think positive, future-oriented thoughts. Eventually, they will become your default mindset. Stress and anxiety can kill neurons and subdue the growth of new neurons.
  • Challenge yourself mentally. The point of having a brain is to learn and adapt to new environments. Once you grow new neurons, where and how long they survive in your brain depends on how you use them.
  • Aim high. Always keep learning. The brain keeps developing , no matter your age, and it reflects what you do with it.
  • Be an explorer and traveler. Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment and make new decisions.
  • Don’t outsource your brain to media personalities, politicians or other people. Make your own decisions and your own mistakes—and learn from them.
  • Develop and maintain stimulating friendships. Humans are social animals and need social interaction to thrive.
  • Laugh often, especially to cognitively complex humor.

Above all, practice. Practicing these suggestions every day will turn them into internalized, unstoppable habits.

Concerned about maintaining your mental capacity? Check out our Optiminds Brain fitness programs that take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells, plus improving cognitive and concentration power. Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Call us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.

Tutoring Can Help Foster a Love of Reading

February 22, 2013

boysread2Helping a child become a reader is one of the greatest gifts that an adult can give, a gift that continues to pay dividends throughout life. Children who acquire strong reading skills at an early age often enjoy a more successful academic experience.

But getting children to read is becoming more difficult with the proliferation of movies, television shows, computer games, sports and after school activities vying for kids’ attention today.

Instilling a love of reading comes as much from reading to your children when they are very young as from your child’s own confidence in his or her reading skills. If you feel that your child may need help with their reading skills, tutoring is a great way to support and cultivate a love of reading. And remember, reading skills can be improved at any age.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds specializes in tutoring reading at all levels. Dr. Stewart and her staff will develop a customized, results-oriented reading program tailored to your child’s needs. One-on-one instruction in a comfortable atmosphere will quickly help improve your child’s reading performance, comprehension and vocabulary. With newfound confidence in their reading abilities, your child will be well on their way to becoming an avid reader.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

Optiminds Offers ADHD Assessment

January 25, 2013

ADHD1You know your child better than anyone and you’ve seen their struggles. Impulsivity, frustration, anxiety and being overwhelmed, to name a few. When a child struggles in areas like these, it affects their ability to process information properly. Unless your child learns how to overcome these obstacles, they will have difficulty learning in school which only compounds the problem.

Optiminds founder, Dr. Jane Stewart, has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. She is IVA+Plus ADHD Test Certified. The IVA+Plus is a combined auditory and visual continual performance test designed to help us make an accurate diagnosis of ADHD/ADD in children, adolescents, and adults. The test provides objective data about a person’s ability to concentrate and to avoid making impulsive errors.

The data helps us identify problem issues and design a program tailored to your child’s specific needs. Our approach includes: mental exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills, and even recommendations on diet and physical exercise. Our unique program improves memory processing speed, and boosts reasoning skills. The program is effective for everyone, but especially people who have ADHD and/or learning disabilities.

To learn more about how Optiminds can help your child overcome learning obstacles, improve at school and builds the foundation for success in their lives, call us today at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Jane Stewart directly at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.


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