“Studying with the Brain in Mind”

October 20, 2016 - 4 minutes read

Terry Small, an experienced teacher and, now, presenter, showed Rockridge’s students and their parents how students can be more effective with their studying in order to improve their learning. He called his presentation “Studying with the Brain in Mind”.

Terry presented students with a sample of his 33 “smart secrets”, which encourage students to look at their brain, as neuroscientists have.

Smart Secret #1: “I am a Genius”

The brain thinks in pictures – not in words. When one thinks of a horse, they imagine the picture of a horse, instead of the word.  Thus, Terry encouraged students to advertise themselves in a way that changes the pictures in their brain.  To do this, students should write down their name on an index card followed by “is a genius” – “John is a genius”, for example.  The card is then placed on a mirror so that they see it every day.  He even suggested that parents do the same for themselves.

Smart Secret #2: “Be green and growing …”

What is one reason why one should go to school? “To become a more interesting person”, says Terry.  When one learns chemical equations, for example, the brain’s response is to form more connections between neurons.  “You just got a better brain (faster, stronger)”, says Terry.


Smart Secret #3: “Get up and stand up on your feet”

Terry says that you should take your age and add 2. This will give you the number of minutes that your brain can function without taking a break with the maximum being 20 minutes.  For example, if you are 15 years old, you should stand up and stretch after 17 minutes of studying.  He also suggests having a couple of gulps of water, one walnut, which he calls “brain food”, and two raisins for sugar.

Smart Secret #4: “Never give up”

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

Smart Secret #5: “Get a Study Strategy”

Studies have shown that students who perform better actually study less than others because they have a study strategy. If students do not already have an effective study strategy, they can ask their teacher, counsellor, or parents for ideas.

Smart Secret #6: “Set Goals”

Terry suggested that students make up a future report card. On a sheet of paper, they should list the subjects they are taking and, beside each subject, write down the achievement level, which, realistically, is the ideal achievement level that they would like to reach.  Students should then place a copy of this future report card in their locker and binder.  Terry said that by placing this future report card in numerous places, it has the same effect as advertising does.

Smart Secret #7: “Write it Down”

Writing something down makes it go into the brain at a much deeper level.

Smart Secret #16: “Study Actively”

The brain does its best work when it studies actively. Terry’s #1 study tip is to make up and use “M & M (Memory and Mastery) Cards”.  These are also known as “flash cards”.

Smart Secret #17: “Turn it Off”

Studying is much more effective when done without TV and music – unless it’s baroque music. This includes Vivaldi, Bach, Scarlatti, Pachelbel, and Handel.

As Terry said, when you put the goals and strategies in the hands of a genius, the possibilities are endless.

For more information regarding Terry Small, visit his website at www.terrysmall.com .