Monday, December 19, 2011

Building brain power...Turning grey matter in to gold...a useful book for parents and teachers...

Do you think you know your brain well ?

I know your really can't know your brain ever in absolute terms. But we can all try and know more about how it works and how we can train it to work the way we want it to. I have always been into training my mind in order to sail through difficult waters, many people do that on a subconscious level to achieve day to day goals and to scale new heights of success.

I have been a teacher for almost a decade and have experienced how you can make the kids learn things easily if you can make them visualise the forms they are being taught. If you are able to make a three dimensional picture in the young student's mind the lessons are imprinted in their mind for ever. Arousing the curiosity also works wonders with young minds when you are to teach them about a complex topic. We should let the creativity of young minds loose to make peace with the logic they are exposed to.

As Dilip Mukherjea rightly says, "The ability to apply logic in our thinking is essential, But it should not dominate our mode of operation when the need of creativity beckons."

 I always keep looking for literature that talks about mind, brain and the infinite possibilities associated with this one gift of God to humankind ...that was the reason straight away showed interest in reviewing the book Building Brainpower by Dilip Mukerjea when Blogadda informed the same.

Human brain is such a bundle of miracles, with infinite ways to train it to perform in numerous ways. This is what I always have believed in, many of you do i know, for me it was more in a spiritual way during the last couple of years. The immense possibilities with the functioning of brain mesmerize me whenever i read about the way it works at the crossroads of it's synapses. The book introduces a layman about brain as an organ first, the parts I skipped reading as I have read those details with great interest in my student life and there was hardly anything new to know.

 Brain mapping as a tool to train the mind is comparatively a new idea for me, especially the way it is explained in the book. Dilip Mukerjea has done some wonderful illustrations by himself to explain how one can map all the information about a particular subject with the help of a diagram using different colors and some images to help the brain remember every single detail. Receptivity of he brain can be enhanced many folds as the book says, 'Brain blooming' or 'Brain blossoming' are the new terms for 'Brain storming', quite literally. Through 'Brain blooming' more thoughts are generated and appropriately assessed.
Isn't that a wonderful thing to practice.

The illustrations and the brain mapping techniques can be really helpful for students, parents and teachers and I think there should be workshops for teachers to train them how to use brain mapping as a tool in teaching. The book discusses how colors and doodles can help in the learning process as well as using key words when memorising a piece of information. In my experience, the doodles we make during lectures, the jokes the teachers cracks while teaching and even the music we listen during self studying helps the process of cementing the information in our brain. To be dug up later whenever required, or better to resurface by it's own whenever required.

Reading is actually a dynamic process in which our brain converts symbols into ideas. How a string of words gets imprinted into the brain like a thought process, like an ideology for life or simple wisdom to live life. The book comes with some interesting anecdotes about the reading and memorising text, much for the students if they takes pains to read a hefty book  like this. It will be worth the pain for those who learn by memorising and for those who are learning in a training atmosphere, be it a school or a trainees camp. The book gets a little boring for self learners i must say.

Yes, the book looks more like  an academic journal, might be scary to look at but keeps you engaged if you understand the working of brain as a constant firing of ideas and emotions. Understanding the brain makes the first part of book if you are interested to know the biology. There are some worksheet type exercises in the last part of the book, which you might find boring again, but could be helpful for some kids and young students.

A great book for those concerned with teaching and training. As i mentioned, more for teachers,parents and students in that order , knowing students need to be inspired by the teachers or parents.

Dilip Mukherjea runs Buzon center at Singapore and has written many books on mind mapping, fast reading and memorising techniques etc., and this book includes almost every element required for a methodical learning. I wish the book was written in a more engaging way , I could read because I have interest in the process of making the brain more and more productive. Overall a good book I must say..

This review is a part of Indian bloggers book reviews program by blogadda . Participate now to get free books. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

doors of the past...

Walking on the streets of Banaras is never a dull moment. A lot of chaos ... all kinds of people belonging to different centuries brush shoulders with each other and talk in different languages. Still understanding each other. Some quadrupeds pushing through the human types or chasing them. We were walking towards pizzeria one day when we saw a foreigner running with his fancy running shoes on , with a steady speed meandering through the maze of all the centuries walking on the narrow lane. A dog got curious and started following him with a warning bark. That guy who was wearing smart looking running gear, stopped , bent down, picked up a stone and gestured to hit the dog ....The dog stopped , stepped back and the foreigner resumed his run.

Both of us( Arvind and me) were smiling seeing this how each one on the road is conditioned to this kind of chaos and  everything goes on with a smooth precision.

I found this door on the same street which leads to Assi ghat starting from Nagwa , where we saw the dog chase ...there is something to stop and gaze every few steps .... or I am an eternal romantic....who knows better :-)

Many foreigners live in this side of the town as they come and settle down for studies and for spiritual reasons too. My favorite authors Robert Pirsig and Inez Baraney have lived and walked in these streets of Banaras and i feel a connect when i read their stories. Many of the Hindi laureates have lived in this city and their stories are full of life, a timelessness is what i witness in their works. This city and it's streets are timeless. Modern and ancient exist together and meld together like they were born here... together.

This interesting door was closed and looked like as if the building is abandoned. But i saw one of the doors ajar when we were walking back from pizzeria . Someone certainly lives inside this historical looking home.

There was a sliding iron gate inside this frail damaged yet strong old wooden door to indicate someone has made it habitable for a modern life. Or a life hung between centuries.

Or a timeless life.

This is the feeling i always get whenever i visit the areas around the ghats... there is a certain rhythm in the life in this place which cannot be explained in words. You have to spend an evening on the ghats of Ganges to experience that.

Doors is the topic of today's Thursday challenge and when i saw it on Bikram's blog i was just reminded of this old wooden door from a timeless street in Banaras.

I really want to visit many more old cities of India as the few i have visited till now seem to be having the same kind of soul. A sense of belonging , a sense of being connected and a sense of walking through the same doors we get in such cities...