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About OptimaLearning

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What is OptimaLearning?


OptimaLearning® is a system for accelerating learning and performance while minimizing or eliminating stress. Through special use of visual and musical arts, this system stimulates under-utilized brain capacities, rapidly increasing memory retention and recall. This accelerative experience releases creativity and boosts motivation. Many people report that the effects of OptimaLearning have given them great feelings of well-being and enhanced the quality of their lives.
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OptimaLearning represents more than 35 years of research and experimentation in many countries around the world. It has its roots in the work of famed Bulgarian psychiatrist and educator Dr. Georgi Lozanov, a pioneer in accelerated learning. UNESCO documented that Lozanov teachers in Bulgaria have accelerated learning five times the normal rate. Ivan Barzakov, Ph.D., was a leading teacher of the Lozanov method in Bulgaria. It wasn't until emigrating to the U.S. in 1977, however, that Dr. Barzakov further developed Lozanov's work and expanded it into the OptimaLearning system.

Dr. Barzakov realized that optimizing learning requires an approach and a methodology that prompts deep positive changes in the personality of the learner and leads to intellectual as well as personal development. He discovered that when you integrate emotional stimuli (music, visual art, imagery, stories, etc.) with cognitive stimuli (the carriers of information) in the learning process, several layers of the brain are activated simultaneously. These brain areas included not only the left and right hemispheres of the neocortex, but the limbic system of the subcortex as well. The outcome was a release of brain energy and a burst of creativity.

Today OptimaLearning is an innovative and comprehensive system of learning, teaching and performance which provides for both intellectual and spiritual development of the individual. It offers techniques and strategies that help people of all walks of life to eliminate counterproductive stress, to transform negative into positive energy, and to cope effectively with distressing emotions. OptimaLearning focuses on developing meaning and purpose as a key motivator for learning and mind development and as a generator of additional energy in the process of performance. It provides principles and techniques that help learners tap into their resources of inner strength, courage and self-determination.

OptimaLearning also represents a continuous search for meaning. It emphasizes techniques and strategies for discovering one's own meaning and purpose in life. It develops a strong sense of beauty and need for creative expression within every individual. OptimaLearning links this sense of beauty and the need for creation with the meaning and purpose in life—for learners of all ages, regardless of their cultural, ethnic or education background.

OptimaLearning directly applies not only in teaching and training of all subjects at all levels, but also in self-instruction and exam taking. It also makes significant contributions to managerial performance, athletic performance, presentation/communication skills, parenting and health professions.*

About Dr. Barzakov

Dr. Ivan Barzakov is a skillful educator, personal coach, and one of the world's leading experts in accelerated learning and music for optimum performance with stress reduction. He holds several degrees, including a doctorate in education and educational psychology. He speaks nine languages. Over the past 15 years his work has been of benefit to thousands of people around the world. In 1978 he founded the Barzak Educational Institute International (BEI), a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Novato, California, where he still serves as president. Coincidentally, in his native tongue, Bulgarian, "barzak" means "fast, rapid or accelerated."

During the past 16 years, I have seen thousands of people using the "OptimaLearning Classics™" music tapes and CDs as well as other OptimaLearning techniques with great success. Students of all ages from pre-school to high school and college, teachers of all subject matter areas from special education to gifted programs, and parents have dramatically improved memory, comprehension and creativity. They have eliminated boredom from their work and made learning and teaching exciting and fun.
— L. M. W., teacher, Tempe, Arizona

*Taken from education consultant Audrey Cullen's letter nominating Ivan Barzakov, Ph.D., for the International Grawemeyer Award for "outstanding achievement in education with worldwide significance," of January 1990.

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