January 17, 2018

What’s your Learning Style?

Have you ever been in a class where all the teacher does the entire period is talk or lecture?  Isn’t that awful?! 

         Not for some . . .



Don’t you hate it when it’s lab day in science class and you have to play with beakers and Bunsen burners?




  Not for some . . .



Isn’t it awful when the teacher doesn’t write notes on the board, only draws silly pictures all over the place?



           Not for some . . .


What’s that mean?? No two students learn the same way!  What’s good for one student may be awful for the next.

There are many different categories of learning styles and many different learning style inventories that you can take to find out what kind of learner you are.

Here is a basic summary of three basic learning styles and a brief overview for what it means to you the learner.

Auditory learner

An auditory learner learns best when information is presented verbally.  In a classroom setting, this type of student likes when the teachers lecture as that is how new information is processed the easiest.  Recording a lecture then listening to it later on CD or iPod is helpful for recollection.


  •  Rewrite notes the same day you heard them
  • Organize notes by highlighting and repeating aloud three times
  • Record lessons and listen to them while you exercise
  • Talk through math problems out loud someone else



 A Kinesthetic learner learns best when there are hands on activities – learning by doing.  In a classroom setting, this type of student likes when teachers gives opportunities to create things . . . models, skits, constructing or manipulating something tangible.   Field trips are helpful as the student can experience and be part the learning. 


  • Study small chucks of information at a time
  • Take frequent breaks and move around
  • Try to create a body motion that represents a concept
  • Walk around while studying notes or flash cards



A Visual learner learns best when information is presented in an organized and systematic way.  In a classroom setting, students with a visual learning style prefer outlines, bullet points and examples with a visual organizer.  Creating mental pictures help students learn better.


  • Use colored pens/highlighters to sequence different steps or strategies
  • Draw a picture to represent a concept
  • Create mnemonics to help recall difficult or lengthy material
  • Create Venn diagrams to represent concepts 

Knowing your learning style and understanding what kind of learner you are is essential.  If your teacher doesn’t teach to your specific learning style, you now have the knowledge to adjust the lesson to meet your specific needs!



Academic Development Group Announces Partnership with Infinite Potential Institute to Provide Academic Success Coach Certification to Mentor Youth


CARY, NC. March 28, 2011 – Academic Development Group, a provider of youth educational and mentoring services in the Raleigh/Durham NC area, has partnered with Infinite Potential Institute to provide a three day intensive Academic Success Coach training certification for people interested in making a difference in the lives of today’s youth. This certification is a combination of Academic Development Group’s proven tutoring program and the summer camp program of Infinite Potential Institute’s founder Trish Walker.

Looking to mentor and make more of a difference in kids’ lives but lacking the “know-how” on what exactly to do, Infinite Potential Institute is providing a three day intensive coach training certification program that will give participants everything needed to start their own summer camps . . . Youth Moving Forward – A Toolkit for a Successful Tomorrow.

Infinite Potential Institute, founded by Trish Walker, serves the needs of people who are looking for a coach training certification that inspires and transforms lives. After completing the comprehensive certification as a life coach for youth, participants will be able to provide a program that will give middle and high school students an opportunity to develop life skills such as setting goals, creating vision, making good choices, overcoming obstacles and time management and organizational skills.

“With our extensive background in providing mentor programs to empower youth with the skills to succeed, it makes sense to partner with Infinite Potential Institute to provide these coach training certifications that will reach more adults to reach more youth.”, says Teresa Molter, founder and CEO of Academic Development Group. “We already provide similar support and mentoring to teachers in our classroom management training to schools around the country and we are excited about expanding our efforts to include Trish’s coach training organization. We look forward to this partnership making a difference in the lives of more youth.”

“The better trained the coaches,” says Walker, “the better prepared they are to mentor youth in developing a solid foundation of the skills they need to be truly successful both academically and personally. Having owned and operated seven businesses, we know it’s not only important to focus on the skills our coaches need to deliver the content. We have built in time to teach them how to sustain a business that will be around to help as many kids as possible.”

About Academic Development Group

Academic Development Group empowers the mind of today’s youth by providing skills for life improvement. ADG reaches out to youth to help them improve the quality of their daily lives. By fully realizing the control they posses within themselves, they can strive to reach new levels of success. Through this awareness and continuous education, students and their families can work together to create a vision of how they want their lives to be. Some services they provide to youth include private one on one tutoring with highly trained and certified educators at the Masters or Ph.D. level, SAT tutoring, ADD/ADHD coaching, youth academic and leadership camps and classroom management training.

About Infinite Potential Institute

Infinite Potential Institute inspires and transforms lives through its comprehensive coach training programs. After receiving certification as a business and life coach, Trish created IPI as she saw the need for more coaches to have the skills necessary to affect change in our youth. Once trained, an Academic Success Coach is a specialist who works specifically with youth to support, mentor and encourage their academic and life goals. In addition to Academic Success Coaching certification, IPI will offer College Success Coaching, Health and Wellness Coaching and Special Education Coaching certifications. Through the network of certified trained coaches that graduate from IPI, more youth will learn the strategies for success, while realizing their full personal potential.


Brookhart Solutions, Inc., dba Academic Development Group
Teresa Molter, Founder and CEO
Tel: (919) 414-4879
Email: tmolter@brookhartsolutuions.com

Infinite Potential Institute
Trish Walker, Founder and President
Tel: (336) 710-6395
Email: Trish@InfinitePotentialInstitute.com

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Teaching Positions – Jobs for Summer

Having a teaching job can be a very fulfilling career.

teaching job

In Wake County Public School (wcpss), the job opportunities have been decreasing over the past few years. Jobs teaching are becoming difficult to find due to the many budget cuts. But the needs of students have not subsided.

Have you ever thought of how you or you and a friend could create your own teaching positions? There are so many students that need help developing life skills such as setting goals, creating vision, making good choices, overcoming obstacles and time management and organizational skills.

It’s a challenging effort for classroom teachers to create the time that is really necessary to teach these skills to kids in school. Think of the number of parents that look for summer camps or track out camps for their middle and high school children. They often look for a program where their child can be stimulated both personally and academically. Don’t get me wrong, as an educator with over 15 years in the industry, we do our best to model and provide an atmosphere conducive to students developing these skills, but parents are asking for more.

Do you know parents who seek out programs that make a difference in their children’s academic success?

Create teacher positions and summer job opportunities for yourself by starting a program of your own to address parents’ needs!

How to interview – what’s your unique proposition?

Want to snag a job?  What do you do at a job interview to make sure you stand out among the others?

  • Wear the right clothes? check
  • Research the company? check
  • Review your resume for errors? check
  • Take out all your body piercings? check

I can’t tell you what the interviewing questions will be, but I can give you some interview tips.  As soon as you walk through that door for your job interview, you are being judged and your body language tells a story!  What is something that is unique to you?

. . . Your first impression ~ a good handshake!

A first impression is made in less than 30 seconds. Like it or not, that’s all it takes. Many people do not realize that to change that impression, it takes 20 additional contacts to be made with that person before their perception of you changes.

Let’s not be reactive and try to fix a poor first impression, let’s be proactive and teach young people at an early age how to create an image of themselves that puts them ahead of many others. Many people perceive those with a strong, solid handshake to be more confident and have better interpersonal skills.

What if you’re not confident? You can fake it if you have to!

No one needs to know if you’re nervous or not, it’s simple . . . when meeting someone for the first time, maintain eye contact, shake his/her hand firmly (not too hard Hercules!) and use their name, or introduce yourself. It’s that easy!

Remember, when you go on a job interview, you have the power to set your own stage ~ make it stand out!


Classroom Presentation Tips

Does your child have an upcoming speech to give at school? It’s often said more people fear public speaking than they fear death. But with practice getting over that fear, your child may actually find they enjoy speaking to a group. A presentation doesn’t have to give them anxiety.

As an educator, many of my students hated getting up in front of their peers to give a high school presentation.

But isn’t it essential that we teach kids not only content, but how to share what they’ve learned with others? High school presentations teach effective communication skills so encouraging students to be proficient in speaking and presentations is necessary.

When your son/daughter gets an assignment that requires them to give a presentation, here are some areas to work on as they are preparing.

Eye contact

For many students, it’s difficult to speak without reading from their notes or paper. Try to encourage them to connect with each person in the audience. Before they make a point – grab a set of eyes and speak that point to that particular person. When there is a second point to be made, pause, find another set of eyes and speak to that person. Doing this will allow them to better connect with their listeners.

Body language

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication. Much of what we convey comes from our body language. Encourage them to pay attention to what they are doing with their hands. Rubbing their eyes, twisting their body, fiddling with their fingers, shifting their weight . . . all these forms of body language distract the audience from the message they are trying to share.

Voice inflection

Then giving a school talk, the way they use their voice is important. They don’t want to have a monotone voice that no one wants to listen to. Try to use vocal variety so as to keep the audience interested in what they are saying.

Facial expressions

Blinking, frowning, winking, teeth or jaw clenching are all types of facial movements that have meaning to people who are watching you speak. If you clench your jaw for example, that often indicates anger. This is not something you want to be doing if you are trying to elicit the opposite emotion. You don’t want people focusing on your facial expressions if they are not in line with your message.


This is a tough one for many people. Most students don’t know what to do with their hands when they speak so they usually end up putting them in their pockets, clasping them in front or behind them or even worse, fiddling with their fingers. Although it may feel awkward, for the audience, using your hands and arms to give more meaning to what is being said allows them to connect more with the speaker. To practice giving meaningful gestures with your child, have them stand in front of you and practice moving their arms purposefully. Ask them to raise one hand out to their side and over their shoulder while saying “point one” then raise the other hand out to the other side while saying “point two”. This is an easy way to get them comfortable using gestures without worrying about the content at the same time. Once they feel comfortable doing this, they can practice while giving their presentation until it begins feeling natural.

Filler words

Stop saying like and um! As well as . . . ah, so, and. This is so hard for the general population, but teenagers in particular since “like” and “um” seem to be in every other word they speak – especially when they are unsure or not confident in what they are saying. Ask them to try to be aware in their everyday speaking how often they use these or similar words or sounds. Being aware is the first step. So once you realize you are using fillers, how do you stop? Replace them with a pause. Notice when you are about to stutter on one of those silly word and . . . pause . . . gather your thoughts. It gives your audience time to process the information you just gave them too!

It really takes a lot of practice to give an effective school presentation. Needless to say, so much more goes into presenting that just preparing the words on the paper.

A great way for your child to self assess after the points above have been practiced is to video tape themselves. This will give them the opportunity to critique themselves. Although you can tell them areas in which they can approve, when they actually see for themselves what others will see it’s a different story! Not only will they see mannerisms they may not know they had and need to work on, but they may gain some confidence in themselves as well as they think, “Hey, I’m not so bad after all!”

If you find your child actually enjoys speaking and wants to learn how to improve further, you can search for your local Toastmaster public speaking group and see if they sponsor a youth leadership program in which they can take part.

Remember, no one knows what the speaker is thinking if they don’t tell or show them, let you confidence be greater than your comfort!

Summer camps . . . which one to choose?

Although it’s still winter, now is the time to start thinking about your summer plans!

At least plans for summer camps. Registration for many camps begins as early as February.

So what are you looking for in a summer camp?

There are so many different options to choose from. I thought I’d list some questions for you to think of as you are contemplating these decisions.


What are the different camp options available?

  • Child care camp– Are you looking for a child care camp that provides a supervised setting without a specialty focus area?
  • Sports camps – There are many camps that give your child the opportunity to either focus on one particular sport or enjoy a variety of options that keep them physically fit for the days or weeks to come. FYI . . . they might be pooped out when they get home!
  • Music/theatre camps – Many kids are interested in honing their creative skills. There are camps that provide kids with the opportunity to explore the creative arts and often end with a performance to capture their camp experience.
  • Academic camps – Many kids enjoy a certain academic subject area. Exercise their minds and take advantage of a content specialty camp that extends their knowledge further. You never know, you may be introducing them to a career choice in years to come!
  • Teen Leadership camps – Are you looking to provide your son/daughter with a camp that gives them experiences in areas such as improving communications skills, self-image & self-esteem, goal setting, overcoming shyness and fear, learning organization and time management skills, inspiring and motivating teens to action while achieving academic and personal growth and development? If so, then a leadership camp is for you! You never know, this may be something that gives them an edge when applying to colleges and/or getting a job!
  • Religious camps – There are many churches that offer Bible school camps for kids. Check with your local religious community to find out what they have to offer. Kids walk away having a fun experience and learn more about their spiritual connection as well
  • Overnight camps – Some kids (and parents?!) are ready for their child to attend an overnight camp. Kids learn responsibility and gain confidence and new friends along the way!



What are some questions I should ask when selecting a camp for my child?

  • Times – Do the times work with our family schedule?
  • Location – Does the location work with our family schedule? Are the camps offered in different locations?
  • Cost – Compare the value received with the cost of the camp
  • Experience of teacher/leader – What is the background of the teacher/facilitators? Is an advanced degree necessary?
  • Size – What is the teacher : student ratio? How many students are there in total?
  • Objectives – If you are signing up for a specialty camp, what are the outcomes of the camp? How will I know if my son/daughter has met those outcomes?
  • Meals – Is food provided or do I have my child bring their own? Be sure to find out specifics if your child has food allergies.
  • Interactive/hands on learning – Will my child be an active participant and have hands on experience – especially for specialty camps.

I hope you have found this helpful as you begin your search for the perfect summer camp!

Test Taking Strategies

Before the Test

Your body needs rest. Although you may be tempted, especially before a big test or exam, don’t stay up all night. Your body needs to be rejuvenated – it’s like your iPod. . . the battery runs out and you need to recharge it otherwise it’s of no use!

Everyone know that you need adequate exercise – nothing new there, but how does it help when you’re preparing for a test? Exercising increases your memory capability! How? Exercise releases endorphins, a chemical which reduces stress. It provides a “natural high” and the release of endorphins will “declutter” your mind and allows for better concentration! After just five minutes of aerobic exercise (like walking), you can feel the results.

Food for thought . . . when you smile, it triggers your brain to release endorphins! Go ahead and smile all day before you take that important test!

What else could you do??

Your thoughts alone can determine how your body reacts to stress. Your mind remembers past events and acts accordingly. You need to re-program your mind with new thoughts. If your brain thinks something awful will happen, like not doing well on a test, your body responds as though it’s actually happening . . . and we don’t want that to happen! Visualize your success. Create self-fulfilling prophecy. You can only control your thoughts, so make sure they’re good ones!

During the test

So the day of the test is here! Your chance to show everything you know! As your body reacts to the possible anxiety you feel, blood moves away from part of brain that stores and processes information and moves to where the emergency is, whether it’s real or contrived in your mind. It gets ready to fight or flight. It makes sense how you can blank out or forget important information during a test since there is no blood in that area of the brain to retrieve the information you knew so well the night before.

To relieve the pressure you may feel when you get the test in front of you, mind dump as soon as you receive the test. Before you allow stress to play a role in your ability to show what you know, put down all the information that you are holding onto in the storage and processing center of your brain so you don’t lose it. Even though you think you know the formulas, dates, or vocabulary, put them down at the top of your paper so you allow your brain to utilize that information during the test rather than having to produce it from the inner folds of your brain. Your brain will thank you!

Use your breath to put yourself in a relaxed state of mind. You can turn that flight or flight mode off by turning on the relaxation response. Learn to use your breath as a means of allowing adequate blood flow to the parts of your brain that have stored all that information you need to recall during the test.

Look over the entire test. Start with the questions you know the answers to first. Circle the questions that you have answered but want to come back to check if you have the time. If you are working on a difficult problem, be mindful of the amount of time you spend on it. It’s easy to get consumed or wrapped up on one problem then realize you are almost out of time and have half the test left to complete. If the problem leaves you trying to recall a particular piece of information, move on. When you are working on the other problems, you may be surprised that what you were previously searching for pops back in your mind when you weren’t even trying to recall it anymore.

After the Test

Let it go . . .the test is over! You don’t have any control over it now.

You might think there isn’t much else you can do after you’ve taken the test, but you should engage in positive activities. Your brain creates an association with test taking. If you are in a bad mood, or spend time beating yourself up for what you should have done, you are creating memories deep in your subconscious that associates with the test taking experience. Create positive associations so the test taking experience will not have a negative connotation in the future.

Keep perspective. Take a look at the continuum of life. This is just one test. In just one course. Just one grade in your span of a lifetime. Will you allow one test to determine your future?

Habits set the course for rest of life, not one test.

Take Control

John Maxwell is a leadership expert.  He shares great advice on what it takes to be an effective leader.  I thought I would share three questions that everyone should ask themselves to get good feedback.  For students, these questions not only apply to their academic lives, but should be considered in regards to their personal lives as well.

  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I keep doing?
  • What should I start doing?

Answering these questions allow you to begin to self-assess; allow you to determine your effectiveness as a student, friend or son/daughter.

Don’t wait to find out that your friends have been annoyed with what you have or have not been doing.

Don’t wait to find out your teacher has been expecting something different from you.

Don’t wait to find out your mom or dad is proud of everything you’ve accomplished. 

You never know until you ask.  Ask for that feedback so you can make any necessary changes that will lead you on the path to true success.

It is very easy to fall in the trap of blaming someone else for something that you had the ability to respond to. Taking control of the situation gives you an opportunity to take responsibility for your actions.

Take control of what you can by asking for feedback.

Share your reflections.  Let us know how it goes!

Effective note taking strategies

Effective note taking strategies


As I mentioned in a previous blog, just taking notes in class does not mean that you have effective note taking skills.  If you are just copying notes down without processing them, then you are not actively participating in the learning at that moment.

Here are some helpful hints to help you be a more effective note taker which will lead to becoming a more effective learner!

Copy down what your teacher has written AND anything he repeats more than once. 

 This will be very useful when you go off to college! That is difficult for many students to do, because they have been “trained” to just copy what the teacher has written on the board. But what is the point of you taking notes? (No, I’m not siding with you – it is important to do!) 

 Notes should be used as a tool of reflection.

 When you have to look back at how to solve a math problem, or what the correct format of business letter is, your notes should give you this information.  Write legibly, they are for you, not the teacher.

 As the teacher instructs, she explains things too (hopefully!).  Perhaps there is something he said that didn’t quite make sense. 

 What do you do then? 

 Write your own notes in the margin.

This is the perfect place for you to jot down questions to ask your teacher or tutor later.  Maybe you missed the teacher giving an example of homeostasis – make a note in the margin so you can ask her later.  Put a big question mark off to the side to ask for clarification on the three motives of the main character in the novel you are reading.

 Do you ever find that there just seems to be too much information to remember? 

 Do you get overwhelmed when you look through your notes when you’re trying to study for a test?

Create an “Important Information” sheet.

When you flip through your notes to study for a test, your brain is trying to process everything it sees whether you are aware of it or not.  It’s a lot of information to sort through and you don’t want your body to react to it as stressful.   In math, for example, there are a lot of formulas to remember.  You don’t want have to search through all your notes and give yourself stress over the amount of material there.  Instead, create a chapter by chapter cheat sheet – aka “Important Information” sheet.  On it will be the formulas and a brief example or explanation to remind you what to do with it.  Now, when you get stuck, you don’t have to re-read all your notes to find that one formula – just turn to your Important Information sheet!

 Now that you are an effective note taker, you have the tools you need to prepare for upcoming quizzes and tests. 

 How do you study for a test?  Find out here!


Study skills for Student Success

Some high school students are finishing up this semester of classes.  Unfortunately, some are in panic mode.  It’s the time of year where teachers may hear, “Is there anything I can to raise my grade?”

They aren’t looking for help on how to study, time management strategies, note taking skills or creating a study guide.

Study skills

Too often students are looking for a quick fix as they are concerned with getting a good grade.

Let’s help our children learn how to study and help them learn how to be successful in both academically and personally.

Some students seem to know what to do . . .

  1. They go to class
  2. Take all the notes
  3. Complete their homework.
  4. Take the test and  . .  . FAIL?!? 

What’s going on?

Going to class is obviously necessary as you need to be physically present in order to get the needed information. Glossy eyes, droll coming from your mouth, head on your desk  – physically present, but not much learning taking place!   Being mentally present is something that is obviously necessary.  Be present and ready to learn.  Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast.  Exercise and diet are important to create a healthy life style that enables you to do your best.

Taking the notes in class does not mean that you have effective note taking skills.  If you are just copying notes down without processing them, then you are not actively participating in the learning at that moment.  No . . . doodling your boy/girl friend’s name or writing notes on what you are bringing on next weekend’s vacation  doesn’t count!   Remember, the notes the teacher puts on the board are there to provide the content.  You should use the margins to write additional comments, ways to remember the information, questions for your teacher or tutor.

Okay, I admit it, some homework assignments are just a regurgitation of facts.  In some classes (like math), the teacher shows you how to do a certain type of problem and you have 30 more just like it for homework.  Have you really been able to learn the concept she was teaching or just how to do the problem?  As you progress through school, that becomes a problem as you need to not only know the material, but will need to know how and when to use it.   Lots of application later on!

Did you actually study for the test?  How did you study?  Oh yeah, I know, the classic flip through the pages saying, “Yep, I know that . . . that . . . that . . .”   Is that how your teacher grades you?  Do you look through the test and tell her, “Yeah, that’s right.  I agree!”  You need to study in the same manner that the tests are being administrated.  Create a practice test that models the type of test you will be taking.  Find examples that you have answers to.  Look in your notes, your book, quizzes, study guide.  Write them all down on a separate paper then take the test at a later time or date.

Of course there are many more issues that affect a child’s ability to do well on a test including Test Anxiety.  We’ll go more into that in another post.

What is your child doing to get ready for a test?