Teenagers' brain connections 'make them learn differently'

This BBC story has made national news. As far as we are concerned this is not news at all.

We are of course grateful for it as the research helps.


The evidence has been there for all to see. During a well-run ropes course program you can watch young people and teenagers in front of you grow, learn and gain understanding in the impact of and the development of relationships, personal identity, self-awareness, social awareness and attitude to others, understanding of values and the quick/fast building of rapport and trust. You can see as they build on their creativity, imagination, creative thinking skills and of course start to attempt and gain understanding of concepts such as leadership and communication.

It is also not news to us that this is better achieved through "framing things positively". This is the back bone of all the training and the starting point of the message we strive to include in all the training that we deliver. Framing the positive, helping to build the picture in a person’s mind of "how to do" something. The positive frame of a "how to do" message builds a "how to do" memory and leads to the future action. It provides a model for the young person to step into.


This all works best when the person delivering the program also develops a conscious process of focusing on the outcomes of the learning concepts designed into the activities and desired by the group. Not focusing on the outcomes of the tasks. The outcomes and results of the task are the bi-product, simply a vehicle to get what you and your group desire (see the list above).

This approach has been the same in the world of educational ropes course programs for decades, it has been the same message in all our training since Vertex was started in 2002. So this story on the BBC website for us, is not news.

It is great that the evidence is now there from scientists with scientific studies to prove it and we will be reading it to help our understanding further and help out clients sell the message of experiential learning. But we and thousands of other practitioners and millions of young people who are now adults have always know it. Because the evidence of the change we have witnessed in our programs has been enough for us and those we have impacted on to know it.

All ropes courses can have this impact if we choose to allow it into our programs and train, and encourage our staff to understand it and apply it.

As a starting point try reading this book "The Appreciative Facilitator" by Cheri B Torres. It is through working with Cheri and reading her very short and easy to read book that I had my first self realization of experiential learning and focusing on building positive future images.

If you the desire to learn and understand more please feel free to contact us.

For those of you, who like us, already work in this way, keep doing the amazing stuff you do.