Posts Tagged ‘learning specialist’

“Sisi Hingano sends political news from Tonga.” – Doc Meek

Kingdom of Tonga

FIAV 110110.svg Flag ratio: 1:2

Naval Ensign.

The flag of Tonga was adopted on November 4, 1875.

The flag looks similar to the flag of the Red Cross. The flag was originally identical to that flag, but to avoid confusion, it was changed so that the red cross appeared as a canton of a red ensign, making it similar to the 17th century red ensign. The flag has been in use since 1864 but was officially adopted in 1875. Clause 47 of the Constitution of Tonga states: “The Flag of Tonga shall never be altered but shall always be the flag of the Kingdom.”

Flag images and text from Wikipedia:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011. Today I am grateful that Sisi Hingano, one of my Tongan Facebook Friends, sends me political news from the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific Islands. She also teaches me  some Tongan words as well. ~ Doc Meek, Neurological Learning Specialist

Thank you Sisi!

Sisi Hingano posted in Kingdom of Tonga – Political Forum

Sisi Hingano 8:34pm Sep 12 2011

English – Tongan translation for the day:

chair – sea
table – tepile
light – maama/’uhila
floor – faliki
carpet – kapeti
kitchen – peito
living room – loto fale
bedroom – loki mohe
room – loki
door knob – kau’i matapa
door – matapa
knob – kau

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Doc Meek, Wed, Sept 21, 2011, Okotoks, Alberta, CANADA

“I was in Tonga as a Learning Specialist.” – Doc Meek

Tuesday, September 13, 2011. Today I am so happy and grateful for my good connections with Tongans and the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific Islands. ~ Doc Meek, Neurological Learning Specialist

Beautiful Tongan sunset

Tonga Sunset

Tongan sunset image from:

Watch a gentle Tongan sunset-time video at this link below:

Lucky me! I got to see the Tongan culture and lifestyle first-hand, and for more than two years, thank heaven!

I was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Education out of BYU-H (Brigham Young University-Hawaii) in 1999,  and sent to the Kingdom of Tonga with my beloved wife Jeannette. Both of us were appointed to participate in the ITEP (International Teacher Education Program) sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The teachers and students and the administrators all worked together to raise the student achievement dramatically.

Way to go Tonga educators!

They helped the students get higher marks and they also helped them change attitudes, behaviors, and cooperation with other students and teachers.

The results? Happier students and healthier students (and wealthier students, wealthy of mind). 😮

They took the meaning of active learning beyond expectations.

And they took my “heads-hearts-hands-hope” inclusivity to a new high.

The Tongans taught me more than I taught them.

Tongans are generous of heart and mind, non-judgmental, and they loved and respected me.

And Tongans loved and respected my wife Jeannette even more.

Naturally! She’s better looking than I am! 🙂

And we loved and respected Tongans.


Jeannette was a real hit with the students and their parents. She directed a 150-voice Tongan choir, mostly youth, and learned to appreciate the saying, “When Tongans sing, the angels sing with them.”

Tongans can sing 7-part harmony a capella, with ease and grace.

And they can dance too! Sometimes wildly. 😮 Wow!

Jeannette also taught an English class for young adults who had all failed to pass their “big English Test” in high school. Thus their gateway to higher education was closed to them (at least in their minds, and in the minds of their parents).

Permanent “doom.”  No hope.

Until Jeannette showed up and pointed out (dramatically):

“I don’t care how others have graded you. I am going to grade you up!”

She added (as some of the students thought this palangi [Caucasian] teacher might give them all an easy “pass”):

“We are going to study and write that exam again; then we are going to study and write that exam again; and then we are going to study and write that exam again!”

The students were stunned.

The thought of writing that dreaded exam again and again was not part of the cultural norm at that time.

If you flunked, you flunked. That was it. You were an “educational failure for life.”

Jeannette faithfully taught a class of 32 students (who came from far and wide when they heard about her famous English class).

Twenty-eight (28) went on to higher education. And the rest carried their newly-found self-confidence into other great opportunities.

We are forever grateful to the first student in Jeannette’s class: Uini, whose dear father asked Jeannette if she would help his daughter with English.

Thank you Tongans for the greatest two years in any land!

A special salute to the parents and teachers and students and administrators in all the Tongan Islands.

And a dozen “high fives” for Mele Taumoepeau, who was Principal of Liahona High School on Tongatapu during my time in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Mele made the hard work sing! Thank you, Mele!

Kindness, Doc

Doc Meek, Tues, September 13, 2011, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S. My beloved wife Jeannette is now building her new health and wellness business, which is giving new hope and health and wellness to people with heart disease and diabetes:

“Ask me anything.” – Doc Meek

Thursday, August 12, 2010. Today I am grateful that I have had more than thirty (30) years of great experience with almost all aspects of education and learning. They call me the “the brain guy.” – Doc Meek

People are always asking me questions about teaching, learning, and how the brain operates. And how the school systems operate.

I am delighted to answer any and all questions! 😮

So this is an open invitation to all of you who are parents, teachers, students, or educational administrators:

“Ask me anything”

I learned that phrase from my internet mentor, Connie Ragen Green. She teaches people how to be a business success on the internet, like she is. She is a great teacher/learner. Kind, considerate, and patiently able to explain answers to all questions, including the “dumb questions” people are almost afraid to ask. That’s Connie.

“There are no dumb questions, ” Connie says, and she practices what she preaches. And she keeps learning. She never stops learning. I think that is one reason she is such a good teacher. She is a good student as well. Thank you Connie! I am grateful for your example.

Same invitation from Doc: “Ask me anything.”

“Ask me anything about education, training, the brain, the mind, behavior, emotion, teaching, teacher training, student learning problems, and so on.”

I have had extensive training and experience with almost all aspects of education and learning, including the administrative and financial aspects. (See my Qualifications Brief by clicking on the date of July 15, 2010, on the calendar on the right-hand side of the screen when you first visit THE LEARNING CLINIC WORLDWIDE blog at

There is almost nothing about education, learning or the brain that you can ask me, about which I have not had some degree of familiarity.

You can ask me with confidence and I will respond with both knowlege and compassion. If I don’t know the answer I will find it for you.

And even a little humor may go a long way, eh?

Years ago, a Calgary magazine reported:

“Dr. Meek brings a unique blend of warmth, intelligence and humor to everything he does.” Thank you, Calgary!

If you have any questions or comments, just click on the little blue word “comments” at the bottom right-hand side of this article, and a form will appear that you can use to ask any question you wish.

Doc Meek, Thursday, August 12, 2010, at Nose Hill Public Library in Calgary, Alberta, CANADA.


J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
“What if you are smarter than you think?”
Learning Specialist

For brain health, ensure heart health (short video):
More on heart health
Ph (801) 971-1812 (Jeannette); Fax [801] 282-6026

CANADA: P.O. Box 3105, Sherwood Park, AB T8H 2T1
TONGA: Mele Taumoepeau, P.O. Box 60, Nuku’alofa
USA: 3688 W 9800 S, #138, South Jordan, UT 84095


The learning brain needs “uprightness” for greatest efficiency

Human neurology thrives on color, movement, gentle music, and “uprightness” for the most efficient learning

The learning brain needs “uprightness,” in addition to color, movement and gentle music (discussed in my previous article, June 12, 2010). If you wish to review that previous article, just click on the title below:

A learning brain learns best with color, movement, and gentle music

Teacher Helping Student at Blackboard -  <i>bonniej</i>
Teacher Helping Student at Blackboard – bonniej; image from the following website: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What is meant by “uprightness” for most learning efficiency?

The ideal of “uprightness” occurs when the student is at a blackboard (greenboard).

The brain is so constructed neurologically that it is most efficient when the material to be learned is “above the noseline,” so to speak, as in the photograph above.

In other words, the best brain “registration” for memory occurs when the material to be learned is located above a line straight out from the students nose.

Why is “above the noseline” best?

We are not sure why. It seems that human neurology  is arranged vertically, somewhat analogously to a vertical four-drawer filing cabinet.

(1) The top drawer registers and files visual material, the pictures we see with our eyes.

(2) The second drawer down registers and files auditory material, the things we hear with our ears.

(3) The third drawer down registers and files haptic material, the tactile sensations we encounter with our hands, and the rest of our body. It also includes the proprioceptive system, the internal sensations of the muscles, joints, tendons, and inner ear, that accompany body movement.

(4) The bottom drawer registers and files affective material, the emotions we feel in our “heart,” or “gut,” if you like.

Thus, when we are presenting visual material to students, and almost all of academic learning is visual (reading for example, or math worksheets, or whatever), we need to get as close as we can to the ideal of being “upright” at the blackboard (greenboard).

Some teachers have wall-mounted “Smart Boards,” connected to their classroom computers, and these follow the ideal even more than blackboards (greenboards). The student is “upright” before the “Smart Board,” the student is moving his hands to manipulate the material appearing on the “Smart Board,” it is in color, and presumably gentle learning “baroque” music could be added as background, although I have not seen this yet.

Voila! All the best items needed for best learning:

– Color

– Movement

– “Uprightness,” to provide material “above the noseline”

– Gentle “baroque” music (about 1 beat per second, or 60 beats per minute)

– Not to mention a caring teacher close at hand 😮

Yes! Caring!

Doc Meek, Thursday, June 24, 2010

At Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

P.S. Now the question becomes:

“How do we approach the ideal of “uprightness” when the student is seated at his or her desk?”

This is a good topic for a future article. This would ideally include the use of fairly steeply-sloping “drafting board” type desks, or barring that, simply using clipboards propped up on a stack of textbooks, or on the student’s upraised knee. Think about this. Use your imagination–your top drawer. 😮

“If you laugh, you change . . . “

All learning involves change of some sort, and all change involves learning of some sort. As a learning specialist, I have always been intrigued by this mutuality. However I have not seen the following quotation until now.

“If you laugh – you change; and when you change – the world changes.” – Shilpa Shah

Lilly Fluger: <> ………………………………………………………………………………………..

This quotation reminded me of the famous book entitled Anatomy of an Illness by Norman Cousins. Published years ago now, Norman was the first person of which I am aware that first brought to my attention the healing powers of laughter.

In Anatomy of an Illness, Norman tells us of his chronic disease from which he could not seem to get any relief from pain. Wikipedia reports that he developed a recovery program incorporating megadoses of Vitamin C along with a positive attitude, love, faith, hope, and laughter induced by Marx Brothers films.

Norman reported: “I made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine belly laughter . . . would give me at least two hours of pain-free sleep.”

What has laughter got to do with learning?

Laughter not only releases people from physical pain, it also releases people from emotional pain. Many students in classrooms and children in homes may be in emotional pain of which we may not even be aware. A steady hand on the rudder and a sense of humor as we sail on in life in the classroom and in the home (or in the workplace for that matter) can go far to ease the hidden emotional sore spots and pains.

In critical situations in the classroom or in the home, many a day has been saved by the teacher or the parent seeing the humor in the heat of turmoil, threat or anger. Many an explosive situation has been defused by the adult in the case resorting to humor instead of retaliation or force. This is not easy. With kindness aforethought, it is do-able.

Sometimes, even the student or the child can be the leader, can lead the adult  in seeing the humor that can lighten the load of both.

Of course humor and laughter responses in tough scenarios need to be thought about, practiced, and developed in advance. If we are open to humor and have done some thinking about it, and practicing with it in calm seas, it may arise and bail us out when we least expect it–and most need it–in rough seas.

If good humor and laughter are used as everyday things, practiced as part of the ordinary teaching-learning patterns in classrooms and in homes, they can make a huge difference in learning, both for students and teachers alike.

“At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.”  – Jean Houston

Humor knows no equal when it is used to respond to insults.

Abraham Lincoln [a man with an ugly visage, we are told] was called a “two-faced liar” in a very public forum. He paused a moment, took a deep breath, and responded:

“I submit to you . . .  if I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?” The house roared with laughter and the danger was gone.


Doc Meek, May 24, 2010, at Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

P.S.  And finally, for teachers and parents who bear a heavy load, Abraham Lincoln lifts our burdens with these poignant words:

“With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.”

Listening to the experts . . . Mom

Medical problems? Relationship issues? Learning problems?

Often we seek expert advice to help us solve or mitigate these situations that are not easy for us.

This makes sense. Experts and specialists often have abundant knowledge and practical experience that makes their input very valuable.

There is a caution here though.

If we just “collapse” our own thinking and feelings and rely totally upon expert opinion, we may turn out to be unwise. We need to keep ourselves connected to the process of decision-making. We need to engage our own brains.

Connect. Consult trusted friends. Use common sense. If we are believers, ponder and pray.

Experts provide essential services in our society, and carry with them vast helpfulness.

Paradoxically, experts also carry a limited point of view, limited and narrowed by the very expertise they have labored so hard to obtain.

Whenever I was working with children with learning problems, and parents became superbly frustrated by the contrasting and sometimes conflicting advice from various learning experts and learning specialists, I made sure to remind the parents, especially the Moms:

“Yes, it can be maddening when you can’t pin down what is to be done exactly, with and for, your child.

“Remember that irrespective of what the experts say, including me, you [Mom] are the final arbiter of what will happen for your child. Who knows the child better, the newly-arrived expert on the scene, or you, who have known the child from birth?

“And before birth.

“Frustrating as it is to face, you [Mom] are the final authority, the best expert on what to do, or how to act, in relation to your child and your child’s learning problems.

“For example, even if I recommend something good, that seems to work well for other children, if it doesn’t sit right with you [Mom], it probably won’t work.

“If you [Mom] are not comfortable with the expert’s recommendation, there are two reasons why it probably won’t work well:

“(1) You are probably right, in the case of your child, irrespective of how well the advice may have worked for other children; each child is unique and a recommendation that has worked well for other children is not necessarily the answer for your child, if that’s the way you feel about it.

“(2) Even if the expert’s recommendation would, theoretically, seem workable for your child, it still probably won’t work, if you don’t feel right about it. Your thoughts and feelings will be broadcast to the child even if you don’t say a single word. Children know how their mothers feel.

“Children have really good ‘radar.’

“So, Mom, like it or not, your actual and intuitive knowledge of your child often reigns superior to what others may think.”

Moms have really good ‘radar’ too!

Happy Mothering!

Doc Meek, April 27, 2010

Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; South Jordan, Utah, USA

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