I love that at Brain Fit Academy, we use simplified vocabulary when we teach our clients concepts. Be they kids, teens, or adults, we have language that helps us to explain things in a way they can understand.
I don’t take credit for this simplified vocabulary. I came into Brain Fit and it was already here. Pam Formosa– the owner/director has worked for many years to develop what we now call Brain Fit and it’s amazing. It really is- and I’m not just saying that because I work there. Remember- my son came through the program too!
What is some of this simplified vocabulary I’m talking about? Well first off, let me say that just because it’s simplified, doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful. In fact, I believe that the language we use makes it more meaningful. I mean, when you’re trying to explain to a child about their brain and body, if you start throwing all sorts of fancy-dancy words at them you’re going to lose them real fast. Especially for those kids that we see that are “stuck” down in the lower part of the brain- in the Fight/Flight/Freeze response. If you’re stuck in fight/flight/freeze, your brain is going to have a hard time retaining any information, let alone difficult vocabulary!
So, instead of trying to explain things using all that fancy-dancy vocabulary, we simplify.
When we talk about the three parts of the brain, we use the terms “baby brain”, “emotional brain”, and “thinking brain” instead of “brainstem”, “limbic midbrain”, and “neocortex”. I mean, what kid isn’t going to look at you funny when you say “and now where going to talk about what happens in your neocortex. The “neo- what now?!?” I could hear my clients saying. Doesn’t baby, emotional, and thinking brain make so much more sense?
And then there’s the “Learning Loop“. What an awesome way to explain to kids about why meltdowns occur, and about what happens as we learn new information. We want our clients (and their families) to understand what it is we’re working to teach them and using vocabulary that is easy to relate to, understand, and retain, really does make a difference.
Another example that comes to mind is the word “stuck”. We use this word in multiple contexts, but it’s an easy one to relate to- since we all get stuck sometimes. We might get stuck emotionally– like when we just can’t get past a situation or feeling in our heads. Or maybe we get stuck physically– when our body just doesn’t seem to want to do what we’re asking it to do. “Stuck” is a simple word, but it can mean so much. Using the word “stuck” can help kids to explain what they are feeling- when they can’t explain what they are feeling- if that makes sense.
And then- there’s the times when we don’t talk at all. Sometimes, the best vocabulary is none at all. Sometimes we just need to move through the “stuckness” to get to the other side- the “breakthrough” so to speak. And when I say move, I mean literally move. Movement is what our program is based on, so sometimes that’s all that’s needed because words can’t do what the movement can.
Simplified vocabulary, but not simplified concepts. It’s how we approach teaching and learning at Brain Fit Academy.
It’s a beautiful thing.