Those of you who listen to my podcast may remember that I recently interviewed Carol Constant about her work around brain training and what we, as language learners, can do to train our brains so that we can retain information better. Carol has a lot of useful tips, so we decided to create a blog post as well.
A more recent update is that Carol’s “Keys to score higher in pre-employment and IQ tests” course is now available on Udemy, so if you want to find out more about what Carol does, you can check out her brain fitness course, visit the Bemensa website, or connect using the social media profiles that are linked at the bottom of this article.
Thanks Carol for sharing your tips and ideas!
Can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
My name is Carol Constant. I worked in corporate for many years for top 500 companies like Ford. I’ve worked in 6 countries, for example I spent 10 years in Australia, in Sydney, where I worked as college course coordinator and trainer.
Last year I founded Bemensa and I offer training in 2 different areas:
- Pre- employment tests and Mensa test preparation.
- Talent development workshops for companies, on skills like problem-solving, creative thinking etc…
Bemensa also has its own app.
What do you think are some advantages of speaking more than one language?
There are plenty, from obvious ones like better career opportunities to benefits relating to our health.
Being bilingual has many positive effects on the brain, because of the work involved in suppressing one language or the other, depending on the situation, and switching quickly. Higher bilingual proficiency is associated with better verbal working memory performance.
Research has shown this exercising of the brain can even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain studies have shown that bilingual people’s brains function better and for longer after developing the disease.
Trilinguals and bilinguals exhibited better performance than monolinguals, but trilinguals did not outperform bilinguals. So, you only need to speak two languages to get all the benefits!
Learning a language is a great way to keep your brain healthy and sharp. Being bilingual can improve a person’s:
- multitasking skills
- attention control
- problem solving and
- creativity – as it promotes outside-the-box thinking.
The many cognitive benefits of learning languages are undeniable. There is more connectivity between the frontal and posterior parts of the brain compared with monolingual people.
People who speak more than one language have:
- improved memory
- problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
- enhanced concentration
- ability to multitask and
- better listening skills
One big challenge when we’re learning another language is finding strategies to remember the new words. Can you give us tips about training or improving our memories?
Yes, I have trained thousands of students from gifted or very bright to those with brain injuries or learning disabilities and there is one common denominator if you want to score high: excellent notes.
There are more factors but the key is note-taking. What you actually use when you study.
If you want to be more efficient, studying more in less time: have very clear notes.
Our brains are built to respond to colour and contrast. Think of flowers, fruit, birds… make up. What is make up for? To make you more attractive, more memorable. Do the same with your notes.
3 very important steps:
- Your brain can do 2 things at the same time but it cannot be efficient in both. So either you are memorising or deciphering. So have very tidy and clear notes.
- The page cannot look all the same from top to bottom: Have clear headlines, paragraphs, and include examples.
- Use contrast and colours: underlines, circle words, square boxes, arrows, use highlighters of different colours.
Are you working on any new projects at the moment?
I am working on the Bemensa app to practise the key skills that will help you maximize your brain fitness.
Improve your: Memory, focus, problem solving, critical thinking and creative thinking skills.
These skills are among the 5 top job skills according to the World Economic Forum.
75% of companies of 100+ employees use tests for recruitment
Experts say only 50% of intelligence is genetic, the other 50% comes from your learning.
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