Transforming the brain

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Philipp Graf von Hardenberg President & Executive Chairman of Thanyapura World Pte. Ltd. Co-Founder of United World College Thailand (UWCT) Founder of the Yaowawit School, Thailand

Up to three pupils in every classroom are affected by Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). According to the researchers from the University College London, about 10 percent of the population suffer from SpLD.

Dyslexia - a variety of reading disorders - is one of the best known learning difficulties. Those affected by it struggle with poor eye tracking, reading comprehension, impaired visual memory, sequencing of information and phonemic memory. And whilst dyslexic students are often of average or above average intelligence, their learning difficulty can prevent them from achieving academic success.

Traditional methods of supporting these students involve teaching to the learner's strengths, or working around the problems. And although they have their value, there is a more direct approach available, not only for dyslexia but for a variety of learning disorders. It’s called the Arrowsmith Program.

Years ago, we believed that we had to accept our brains as they were, even if they were dysfunctional. That’s until the concept of neuroplasticity came about, proving the ability of the brain to change itself. The Arrowsmith Program applies neuroplasticity through practical exercises. Of course brain stimulating exercises are not new, what sets the Arrowsmith apart, is that it targets 19 separate cognitive brain functions. while other methods typically address just one.

For a success in learning at least an “average” (as per population) rating for all of those functions, is essential. The Arrowsmith does not give up on students until they have achieved exactly that. Which is why, when they return to their schools, they no longer require additional support; they are able to learn as efficiently as their classmates. The Arrowsmith permanently changes their brains at the cellular level.

As with any groundbreaking idea, there are always critics; in education perhaps more than anywhere else. The stuffy halls of academia are threatened by fresh ideas. Not so, however, at United World College Thailand (UWCT) in Phuket, the first school in Thailand to embrace Arrowsmith. For two years, UWCT has celebrated remarkable results from hard-working students, witnessed by their parents and teachers, and now they are developing the provision of the program further. Their vision is to give all students the opportunity to benefit from the program, not just those with SpLD.  

To learn more about enrollment possibilities, contact leader of the Arrowsmith Program at UWCT, Hugo Moore, at hugo.moore@uwcthailand.ac.th.