Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 89 - November 2012 - by Phil Chambers


TIME TO READ: 4 minutes - less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 970. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.

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Welcome to the November 2012 issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter. Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This month we have an article thinking about the nature of science and poetry plus our regular features of quote of the month, Mind Mapping tip and what I’ve been up to.


November's Quote of the Month

"Racing, chasing, fluidly,
Assimilating easily,
Comprehension never ends,
Understanding then extends,
Meaning to the whole of space,
Memory to hold, embrace,
Recall, apply, exams to ace,
When reading at a faster pace."

~ Phil Chambers
A poem about Speed Reading written as part of TLI Course, see what I’ve been up to.

More quotes here



What's Phil Up To?


TLI Reading Group


I had great fun delivering ThinkBuzan Licensed Instructor (TLI) Training in Memory and Speed Reading with Tony Buzan in Henley, England over the last two weeks.

Most of November will be devoted to finishing writing a book on Speed Reading that will be published by Pearson Education in 2013.

I will also be preparing papers for the World Memory Championships that takes place in London on 14th – 16th December.


Mind Mapping Tip of the Month.

Try making the style of words reflect their meaning. For example, you could use shaky writing for the word fear’. Accelerated learning expert, Lex McKee often writes the word ‘Review’ in mirror writing to emphasise that it is looking back at something.


The Poetic Scientist.

Having spent most of the last two weeks with Tony Buzan, I have been watching him challenging audiences with the questions, “Are you a scientist?” and “Are you a poet?” Almost universally people say they are neither.

A scientist is a white coated, bespectacled, wild haired man (stereotypically male) with a brain the size of planet. Scientists are often to be found in chemical laboratories surrounded by peculiar smelling, bubbling liquids in tubes, flasks and other glass contraptions. Alternatively, they are frantically scribbling unintelligible mathematical formulae and calculations on blackboards. Scientists have absolutely no social skills from spending too long in their ivory towers.

A poet is a romantic drop out living in, an often drug induced, dream-world unconnected with real life. They are untidy, pale, frequently ill, have effeminate mannerisms, limp handshakes and overly dramatic and pretentious affectations. They are often pompous about their ‘art’ that is publicly accepted as utter rubbish or nonsense.

It is little wonder that nobody wants to admit to being part of either stereotypical group. Obviously, these are gross distortions and making such associations destroys countless opportunities for personal development and living a more richly varied life.

In reality, a scientist is anyone who follows the scientific method. Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them.

Every child is a scientist: Imagine a small child standing by a large puddle. She drops in a small pebble (experiment). The result is a small splash. The hypothesis is that a bigger stone will produce a bigger splash. Sure enough, dropping in a rock leads to a big splash. Second prediction, since she is bigger than a rock, if she jumps in there will be a larger splash. The prediction is confirmed. Massive splash, soaked clothes and parents covered in muddy water! However, far from being congratulated on her deductive reasoning she is berated and told not to jump in puddles. Scientific genius crushed! So if you re-awaken your childlike, inquisitive mind you can confidently call yourself a scientist.

Everyone daydreams. This is essentially the basis of poetry. It is allowing free associations around a subject. The late poet laureate, Ted Hughes, encouraged his students to come up with unusual associations as the basis for writing a poem. Tony Buzan explains the technique in his book, ‘The Power of Creative Intelligence’ as follows:

"He would give his students a pair of apparently completely disconnected objects (such as 'mother' and 'stone'), and would ask them to do a Mind-Map exercise to note down associations.

When the students had thought of 10 words around each object, Hughes would then instruct them to take one word from one concept and find associations between that and the ten words from the other one. They then moved to the second word from the first concept and found associations with the ten words from the other, and so on until they had associated all ten with all ten. To everyone's amazement many of the associations were extremely unusual, highly imaginative, very provocative and often quite moving.

The students' next task was to select the best ideas from all their thoughts, and from them to construct a creative and original statement, and ideally a poem.

Another one of Ted's favourites was to juxtapose 'one' a person, and 'one', an animal. The exercise was the same: radiate 10 thoughts on the first word, 10 thoughts on the second and then find the most enticing associations.

For your own amusement, randomly pick pairs of 'opposites' from a dictionary, and find at least two associations between each as you go along - or do the poetry writing Mind.Map exercise on each, and write your own creative pieces."

So with a few simple techniques and giving yourself permission to play, you are a poet too!


That’s it for this month. I’ll be back in touch with the next newsletter in time for Christmas.

Best Wishes