Modern neuropsychological and neurobiological research suggests that by doing systemic, cognitive exercises, such knowledge can be acquired that will help a person to learn and make rational decisions more more easily. Of course, in the first years of life, these skills are acquired most effectively.
During their lives, every human being accumulates experience in problem-solving: First, in the social sphere, second in the artistic, third, the musical, etc. However, there are very few people who have accumulated models for the economic sphere, successful learning, and other various spheres of activity.
There is physical activity: A child crawls, runs, jumps and is active. There is also mental activity, in part the desire to solve, or take a decision on some kind of problem, and then receive satisfaction from solving it. Such cognitive activity, unlike motor activity, at the present time, is present in only a small amount of children, teenagers and adults. If a child is mentally active and inquisitive, she will be more interested in learning, living, and socializing. And she’s more interesting company well. These are usually children with whom adults have been working since an early age. In order to bring up a mentally active child, the main roles are played by talented parents, educators and pedagogues (Polgar, Johnson and others) to cause active brain stimulation in childhood.
Neuropsychologists explain it this way: Due to the accumulation of positive information from having made a decision, “brain patterns” form – a network of tightly connected neurons. The connections amongst the neurons in the patterns are quite strong. The more often these “patterns” are activated by mental activity, the more stable they become.
At The Club, a programme has been created for the activation of mental activity and the creation of certain brain patterns. The program is based on 5000 games, special exercises and 40 themes developed by the author. Learning occurs in a playful manner in an emotionally positive environment, so as to stimulate thinking.
Additionally, in various parts of the brain, musical, artistic and musical patterns are created. We form “intellectual patterns” in the frontal control parts of the brain. Let’s suppose there is a problem involving geometry. First, it is perceived by the visual subcortex, is recognized, and then goes to the frontal lobes, and if relevant models and images have already been formed and accumulated, it is easier, and the problem is addressed with interest.
Untrained minds without models are difficult to teach and waste more resources.
Characteristic of this is the story of one famous chess Grand Master. After a brain operation, he lost his memory, yet still continued to play, surprising the surgeons and intensive care specialists. His strength as a chess player was preserved.
I know the international chess master V.A.. He is 70 years old, with 20 years’ business experience, but he has not lost his ability to play at all, and is still successful as a tournament player. What stable and powerful “chess patterns” formed during the cognitive years playing chess?
Chess is something which requires intellectual effort. If the effort is insufficient, not systematic, or not constant, then the “brain patterns” have a tendency to “fall apart.” One example is Anton- 5 years old. During 6 months at The Discovery School, he learned the basic rules of chess, and very basic problem solving. He developed an interest in chess. Then, his parents took him to live with his grandmother for 6 months, where he wasn’t able to play. Once he had returned, he had forgotten quite a bit, and lost interest in the game. It is a typical example. It seems that his “patterns” were not stable. It is possible that all brain patterns are similar, even those for maths. That is why it is quite important to teach your child new things, but positively reinforce the learning.
So what do we do? We increase the ability perform tasks at a much lower cost.
Every time we activate the first “formed memories,” for example, solving complicated new problems in classification, we can alter the memories just a little, and adapt them to the new situation. They change, forming new improved brain patterns, and then long-term memory.
A series of correctly designed cognitive exercises will be significantly more effective for development and the correction of mental functions than haphazard exercises.
In children with abnormal behavioral reactions: hyperactivity, attention deficit disorder, negativism, emotional withdrawal, and others, the accumulation of information, and formation of “patterns” is slower, which can then lead to delayed mental development, and learning difficulties. In working with these children, much depends on the system of games and exercises, patience, skill, tact, and the readiness of the parent.
Something similar occurs during physical exercise, which requires specific effort, and in these cases, the muscles remember it as well.
“During the time we move from childhood to maturity, we accumulate different models that give us the ability to handle new situations. As if they were friends.”
One more example: A student must solve a problem of similar triangles. If the brain recognizes these triangles as familiar figures, and the brain has retained the model from the study of geometric imposition, comparison, rotation, and analysis, the student can effortlessly and quickly solve the problem, and thus feel positive emotionally. If the brain does not recognize the problem as something familiar, it is likely that more energy will be spent, and the result is fatigue and negative feelings.
It requires time, sometimes years, to create similar patterns and models in a child, with a certain amount of play and assignments of varying degrees of difficulty, and subjects with definite emotional support and play. The Bereslavsky Method requires 3 to 4 years. With the successful completion of cognitive exercises, a “library of models” is formed.
People who have accumulated extensive neuron “model libraries” will solve problems quite effectively, and make rational decisions in complex situations.
The idea that mental activity changes the brain is gaining an increasing amount of adherents in the scientific and biomedical communities.
There is physical relaxation, and there is spiritual relaxation. We teach intellectual relaxation, which is the ability to happily solve problems calmly, and without stress. We improve the quality of the mind by improving the activity of the brain.
Neurons form bonds most actively during the first years of life. This is a general law of the animal world.
Not every child is capable of attending the School. There must be a corresponding level of preparedness of the brain system, and the behavioural reactions of the child. That is why, before we accept a child, we do a diagnostic test, and have a discussion with the parents about how our School differs, and why it is so vital to start the intellectual training of a child as early as possible.
Eminent neuropsychologist and neuroscientist, and student of Luria, Elkhonon Goldberg believes that “The brain can form its own maintenance system due to the need to survive in an increasingly complex and unpredictable world”
Instead of having to start solving life’s problems from scratch, which requires a large expenditure of energy and nervous tension, children, teenagers and adults are more easily able to cope by using previously established brain.patterns.
“There is ever-increasing evidence that mental activity can alter the brain. As a result of cognitive mental activity, a stronger growth of dendrites can result, as well as a proliferation of small blood vessels through which blood is delivered to various areas of the brain. The speed of the formation of new neurons is increased just as physical exercise influences muscle growth.”
References: Elkhonon Goldberg: “The Executive Brain”
Elkhonon Goldberg: “The Wisdom Paradox”