Creative Claims to Intelligence
By Julia, age 14, New York
Have you ever expressed an interest in boosting your knowledge? Maybe the school year is setting in, and you are struggling. For years you have listened to your parents, teachers, and educators. They all tell you that the secrets to becoming brighter are to listen more carefully in class, become less nocturnal, and cut out the frequent ice cream indulgences from your diet. While increasing focus, sleeping regularly, and eating healthy are positive ways for gaining an edge, studies have proven there are other engaging methods as well:
♥ Break out the pen (and maybe even crayons)! Doodling has been shown to improve concentration. Psychologist Jackie Andrade performed research in which forty people watched an informative video. Half the viewers were instructed to shade in boxes and circles while watching. After the video, the doodlers performed much higher in questioning about what they had seen.
What does this tell us? While doodling can prove to be a distraction for some (like me!), others find useful benefits from it. It's up to you to decide whether it helps you.
♥ Respond to what you read. Whether simply leaving a comment on the end of a web page or writing a letter to your senator discussing a local concern, responding to something you have read forces your mind to comprehend writing. It prompts you to draw opinions and learn from others. Kelly Nicole, an eHow contributor, remarks, "Students who actively respond to a text consistently increase their reading and writing skills." While reading, ask yourself what the author's purpose is and how they convey such purpose.
There are alternative ways to respond than just writing. Let's say you recently read an article about homelessness, and something about the issue was captivating. By donating a can of soup to a shelter or giving an hour of service at a kitchen you are applying what you have read to personal living. The action not only brings the text to life, but it gives you deeper understanding of the author's intentions.
♥ Take time to breathe. As confirmed in over six hundred studies, meditation and relaxation build healthier brain waves! While relaxing in bed and listening to tranquil music is common, experiment with other options such as sitting upright in silence or lighting a scented candle in a dark room. Meditation and religious traditions are often linked. Clearing your mind allows you to be undistracted in learning situations. It's a simple way to higher grades, don't you think?
Keeping an open mind amidst instruction is a principle key to wisdom. Through response and meditation you are sure to find yourself absorbing more and feeling fulfilled. Happy learning!
Cloud, John. "Study: Doodling Helps You Pay Attention."
Nicole, Kelly. "Effectiveness of Response Journals."