Walking Boosts Learning Engagement

walkingIf you were wondering how to increase learning capacity, a study by Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology has an answer for you. Lecturer, Olle Bälter, found that by taking the classroom outdoors and walking increased students level of engagement in course studies.

Walking Offers Benefits

Bälter reported that students participated more when active during classes than sitting in a classroom. Walking, it seems, lifted the stigma of discussions, allowing students to speak more freely.

The active time also provided physical benefits which sedentary activities could not. Perhaps the feelings of freedom and engagement boosted endorphin levels a bit too, adding to the positive experience.

Behind the Experience

One might also look to the role reversal that walking as a group offers versus the traditional classroom setting. A lecturer speaking in the front of a group of students may intimidate some. When walking, a student didn’t have to fear being in front of the class and perhaps answering a question wrong.

Or it could be that walking is an enjoyable activity. It may harken back to pleasant grade school memories of field trips. It isn’t threatening, but rather passive. By removing such obstacles, students may have felt more free to express themselves.

Lessons for Writers

This study offers good ideas for writers looking to boost their creativity. The computer and desk may create the same experience as the classroom. By breaking away from this experience, a writer may find it easier to hear the Muse.

Great writers of the past, such as Wordsworth and Thoreau, knew the benefits of walking. It sparked creativity and new ideas. It generated many poems, essays, and other works that have stood the test of time.

The KTH The Royal Institute of Technology study reminds us that breaking from the usual routine has its benefits. For the student or writer, they can offer something that is priceless.

http://mystery.weborglodge.com/By Chris DR

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Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 5, 2015

Russell Baker quote

“The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.”

~Russell Baker
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Practice Makes Perfect

Winston ChurchillThe wise Winston Churchill once said,

“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.”

Well, now there’s an answer for that from the University of Cambridge, no less. Researchers studied how we learn new skills. They found that you can learn a single skill faster if the follow-through is consistent. This insight applies to motor skills.

They also found you can learn multiple skills as well by varying the follow-through. The reason is because the multiple movements create multiple motor memories. These findings have important applications, whether it applies to sports training or rehab following a stroke.

Practice and Muscle Memory

When you take on new skills, it takes time for your brain to build muscle memory. But think of how subtly this works. I recently took up the guitar. I wanted to get in touch with my musical past.

Through practice and lots and lots of scales, you learn instinctively where the strings are—so you don’t have to keep looking at your hands. It is infinitely more difficult with the violin and the lack of frets guiding your way. Been there, done that.

And as writers, we care about how the brain works. By knowing these facts, we can leverage them to our advantage. With the ease of doing certain skills comes the opportunity to engage in diffuse mode thinking.

Some call it daydreaming or idleness. Researchers, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Joanna A. Christodoulou, and Vanessa Singh, call it constructive internal reflection. Practice sets the stage for it. Learning, after all, is good. What’s fascinating is learning how your brain has it all figured out.

http://mystery.weborglodge.com/By Chris DR

“Winston Churchill cph.3b12010″ by J. Russell & Sons – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b12010.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Winston_Churchill_cph.3b12010.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Winston_Churchill_cph.3b12010.jpg

Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 4, 2015

Nathaniel Hawthorne quote

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

~Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 3, 2015


To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.
~Truman Capote

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Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 2, 2015

castles in the air

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”
~Henry David Thoreau

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Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week #1, 2015

skeletal remains

An archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets, the more interested he is in her.”

~Agatha Christie

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Writing Your Book — Just Do It

plant a treeThinking about writing your book? Let me tell you a story. Last week, we celebrated my husband’s birthday. Prior to our trip up north, I asked him what he wanted.

In a previous life, his ex surprised him with a party. He was not amused. I didn’t want to make the same mistake. Instead, I asked him outright what he wanted.

He told me that one of the biggest regrets in his life was not learning how to play the guitar. I thought, “That’s it?” That’s easy to fix! Then, with my encouragement, he bought a guitar. Almost a day doesn’t go by without him thanking me for prodding him to take the plunge.

Writing Your Book

And that’s my advice to you. If you have been thinking about writing your book, just do it. Start! Let this proverb be your inspiration:

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Look at it this way. Five or ten years from now, you can say how glad you are about writing your book. Or, you can say how you wish you would have started. It’s your choice.

I had a similar awakening when it came to college. I didn’t go right after high school. I had a good job—and a boyfriend. Later, I regretted not going. Then, I did it. I dropped my job for student loans and went back to school. I’ve never looked back since.

That’s how it is about writing your book. The act of getting it down on paper is powerful. I can’t think of a greater feeling than knowing what my book feels like when printed out. You get a real sense of your accomplishment when you heft a manuscript. It’s priceless.

You may or may not publish it. That’s okay. You can easily make that dream come true with something like CreateSpace.com though if you choose. The important thing is to write it down. Think of it as your legacy.

Once you make the commitment to write, you’ll find that inspiration comes to you at the oddest of times. Your mind will work on it when you’re doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, or taking a walk. And when it’s done, you can call yourself a writer. Well done!

http://mystery.weborglodge.com/By Chris DR

photo credit: Shawn Harquail (away 3 weeks) via photopin cc