Accelerated learning can include very different techniques, ideas and approaches to education. At SMUS, accelerated learning means that we work to create an ideal learning environment and stimulate our students. We use mind maps, apply multiple intelligences theory, innovative memory devices, and encourage students to think creatively and critically. Some educators consider participation in music and the arts – a requirement at SMUS – to be a way to support accelerated learning.
Accelerated Learning Principles
- Bright, comfortable classrooms with engaging displays help students focus on what's happening in class. Surrounding them with materials related to the topics at hand helps mentally prepare them and encourages them to make connections to the world outside the classroom.
- Supporting students' physical and mental health – helping them work through stress and feel socially at ease – makes them better learners.
- Building in opportunities for students to express opinions, apply imagination and discuss topics with peers can make lessons more fun and energize the class.
- While focusing on the core ideas and skills in a particular course, teachers can still expose students to multiple directions and related topics. Rather than overwhelming students, this provides a wider framework for the course.
- Incorporating different types of exercises to stimulate different parts of the brain keeps students attentive. This can include using movement, creative arts, or new ways of expressing knowledge, such as a spontaneous debate.
- Helping students identify patterns in the topic at hand allows them to apply techniques and skills to new areas of study.
The key to accelerated learning is to make learning meaningful to the learner; if the student feels engaged and motivated, they are going to be more willing to put time and energy into their studies.