The learning process is vital to healthy development of a child’s brain and their experiences and interactions largely influence how this happens. This process doesn’t just take place in the classroom but in all areas of the child’s life. Because of this, learning is better approached when it is an active process that triggers the appropriate areas of the brain. By utilising this method, learning becomes more exciting and therefore, more beneficial to brain development and ultimately increasing intelligence.
The brain is the command center for the body. When a baby is born, it has all the brain cells it will have for its entire life. The early years of a child’s life is when it is important to develop the neural connections between these cells, which helps the brain grow and mature. Utilising working memory in order to assist in making these connections will lead to quicker increases in brain development and intelligence.
Working or active memory is the ability to keep information in the brain for a short period of time in order to solve a problem. This generally happens in the frontal lobe of the brain, a part that is not as developed in younger children. However, when they are taught with methods that make use of their active memory, their brain makes many neural connections which helps with development. It’s a workout for the brain. And even better, is that through this type of training, fluid Intelligence is nurtured so a child’s ability to use logic and reasoning to solve problems or analyze new situations becomes more developed.
After years of research in martial arts, coaching, neuroscience and psychology (at Griffith University on the Gold Coast), Damien Martin developed our age specific kids programs so that they would target different stages of development. This was also heavily influenced by Melody Johnson and her SKILLZ programs. As the final step in creating this innovative curriculum, the teaching procedure was created. This includes using active learning and working memory to develop the neural connections in the brain, therefore fostering fluid intelligence. By teaching this way, the program maximizes learning in the students.
This groundbreaking approach to teaching martial arts encompasses a process that is like no other. After the students have warmed up the instructor delivers a short mat chat that discusses the details of the skill of the day. This initiates active learning, which gets the neurons in the brain to start activating. The students then participate in a game-based learning drill related to the skill and this stimulates their working memory and, therefore, creates new connections in the brain. The final step is when they test for a skill-stripe, which fosters fluid intelligence and their ability to retain information more efficiently.
When children are young it is vital that their brains are stimulated in a way that creates more neural connections. Involving them in programs that have this type of brain-training is essential. By participating in programs like this, children develop better working memory and their ability to reason and logic when presented with novel situations is easier.
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