New Zealand author Linda Sands did not set out to be an English teacher. An expert in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), she explores how the brain works and how this helps people discover their unique learning style and develop practical strategies to fully utilize their potential. Such knowledge is particularly helpful for Chinese students, who, as Sands discovered during her multiple trips to China, constantly need to work diligently to pass all sorts of tests and exams. In her words:
"Education seems to be a very serious business here. Many parents put their children into all manner of classes as soon as they can walk and talk. I was asked if I would take an 18-month-old girl as an English language student! Kids not only have school during the week, but have classes after school and on weekends too. The most sought after schools in Beijing will only enrol children who have already been going to certain classes on weekends. I presume this is after their full week at kindergarten."
Sands is concerned that such lack of leisure time may be detrimental to the Chinese youth developing their own ideas and exploring other aspects of who they are. In her words: "China has one of the highest suicide rates in the world. The stress that comes from the pressure to conform and perform can be overwhelming. This pressure hits students hard. They want to do well because of their parents' expectations and their grades are a ticket to self-worth or disgrace."
In an attempt to help Chinese students not only pass their exams, but also "to dream and to have original ideas about one's own personality and learning styles", Sands wrote You're a Genius! In this brain-friendly study guide, she starts out by asking her students what excites and inspires them, what their unique learning style is, and what they want their future to be. The, using NLP skills and strategies, she helps them discover various adjustments they need to make in order to get the learning results they want.
In You're a Genius!, Sands' writing style is professional but friendly, focusing on the positive use of language and how it helps the brain embrace new and diverse challenges. Because each person is unique when it comes to learning, knowing how your brain works FOR YOU is exciting because it makes learning so much easier. It makes learning fun and stimulating and encourages students to go beyond any limiting beliefs about what they can achieve, both in and outside of the classroom.
Indeed, You're a Genius! as a study guide provides help to (Chinese) students with all aspects of the learning process, including ways to improve their memory, boost confidence, deal with pressure, prepare well for exams, and increase their energy. The intention, in Sands' words, "is to provide [students] with the tools to become skilled at any subject easily, quickly and excellently. We also aim to help you develop the self-assurance needed to achieve your dreams".
"We are not supposed to be clones on the conveyor belt of an education system, but creative beings who can tap into our inner resources for a fulfilling and generous life," says Sands. With the publishing of You're a Genius! as a bilingual (Chinese/English) ebook, it is her wish that everyone could receive this gift.