I have a question for you.
How many brains do you have?
Well depending on your level of medical, physiological, psychological or self improvement industry knowledge you have and the models you choose to use, the answer can range from one, to as many as seven, may be more.
For our purposes (the teaching physical skills in the form of Karate mainly to children) the answer is
Yes, two brains and no not Left and Right Hemisphere.
I'm talking about the conscious and subconscious (or unconscious) minds. ("Unconscious" in Martial Art circles, tends to involve a short period of sleep just after you receive blow to the chin).
Explaining to a Junior School aged child the meaning of the Conscious and Subconscious minds is a bit like herding cats, it can be done, but its a tad on the tricky side. I believe however that it is an important concept.
We ask, as educators, that children learn, remember and be able to recall a piece of behavior or knowledge, whether it be a specific movement pattern in the case of Martial Arts or the accurate history of the country in which you live, but if we often don't explain to children just what the learning process involves and then they can get frustrated, with low self esteem and end up trying very hard, but do the very thing that prevents then learning effectively.
As I see it, when we learn something new we use our Conscious brain, we think, we concentrate, and focus on joining what we don't know to what we do. We use up physical energy in the brain, its a slow process and feels like hard work.
Eventually if we concentrate, focus and take the time required we start to assimilate the knowledge into our automatic storage device, our Subconscious.
As adults, using the Conscious mind to teach the Subconscious mind, is a concept we can grasp, as children its a bit tricky.
Explaining this to Children (Mat Chat)
I ask my students how many brains do you have?
I've had some strange answers, but in this context I want the answer - Two.
"The first of your brains is the The Human, thinking, learning, slow, working things out brain,
and the second is the fast automatic, takes no effort or energy to use "Computer" brain.
Now some thing for you do, are you ready? Sure?
Answer as quickly as you can....... one plus one?
in about a tenth of a second.... that's the computer brain, you know the answer, no effort no concentration of focus.
Now try to answer the following ................Sixty Five times Twelve......... um.
No answer from the computer, so you start to use the Human brain, slow, using up energy and taking all your attention complex and confused about where to start,
(I couldn't be bothered to do it either, just to much effort involved oh alright then it's 780).
Now, when you are learning some thing new, you need to use the "Human" brain to programme the Computer brain and we all know how slow it is to programme a computer, it takes ages, its slow and you have to be very accurate or the computer doesn't do the right thing.
What happens if you rush when your programming a computer? What about if you miss things out of the programme? Skip things? or just put in rubbish instructions? Yeah Garbage in Garbage out.
When you is trying to learn its just the same.
Remember, in order to teach your Computer brain, (so that in the future it does what you want it to), you have to use your Human brain. Go slow, allow your brain to get things right, and repeat it again and again.
Yes it is going to take energy and effort and time to start with, but once the computer brain has got it it will (with refreshers every now and again) give you the answers (movement) you want, as easy as One plus One equals Two".
So take your time and do things slowly giving your Human brain the chance to work things out and do things properly. Then repeat and repeat again. Slowly you will programme your Computer brain and then, what you have learnt will be easy and fast to do.
You've learnt it!!!
A Final Thought.
Kids who pick things up quickly are labeled bright and intelligent, and kids who are slower get labeled as ... well, slow. Meaning that there is an unspoken agenda for kids to pick things up quickly to prove that they are in the bright category (in Karate schools, quickly and with dynamic energy) this agenda leads to behavior which is the exact opposite (slowing down) of what is required for effective learning.
The slow (time allowed) repeated use of focused, concentrated, accurate, precise, Human Brain which is able to "join the dots up" is much more effective, than trying to use the human brain once (i.e. quickly) and then rely upon the computer (which may or may not have got in order to produce the required results. Slow learning may seem a bit more inefficient but in the long term can be much more effective.
As "Practice makes Permanent" (not perfect) my plea is that you get children/students to to slow down allow themselves thinking and processing time and do the movements correctly before increasing speed and dynamics.
We've only got "Two Brains" please give them a chance!