Make Your Child Brilliant - NEW SERIES - Thursday January 9

make your child brilliant
leeds (1/6)

In this brand new series, education guru Bernadette Tynan puts into practice her unique brand of brain-training by going into schools up and down the country and identifying seemingly ordinary children whose gifts are being ignored. In this first programme, she visits Rothwell Primary School in Leeds.

Bernadette Tynan has spent more than 15 years researching the secrets of the mind and developing a range of brain-training techniques guaranteed to bring out the best in any child. She has helped thousands of children unlock special gifts and talents, but she is convinced that the current “exam-crazed” education system in the UK is failing to spot the ability of many of the country’s brightest kids.

“Everybody’s got something,” says Bernadette. “It’s just a matter of discovering it and developing it. And that’s what I’m here to do.” As she embarks on her first experiment at Rothwell Primary School, she sets the children a go-kart building challenge, during which she quickly realises that there are plenty of possible candidates for her training. Some display leadership skills, others an aptitude for mechanics, and some are good problemsolvers and entrepreneurs.

After talking to teachers, reading reports and watching the children in their classes, Bernadette selects the five children who she wants to observe more closely before ultimately picking one to receive her intensive brain-training. The first of the five is Ben, nine, who has an unusual talent for gardening – something that is not on the National Curriculum so might be missed at school. Taunie, aged ten, is very bright but holds back in class. Nine-year-old Adam displays impressive mechanical aptitude; ten-year-old Nicholas is inventive and innovative; and Daniel, also ten, has many gifts but often puts others first, which can overshadow his own strengths.

Bernadette takes the five children to an activity centre to see how they deal with new situations in unfamiliar environments. She presents them with new challenges that test their creativity, codebreaking skills and teamwork, and by the end of the day has decided on the the two children she wants to observe further: Nicholas and Ben.

The next challenge is to see how the two boys interact with their parents, so she sets them the task of piloting a barge through a lock. Bernadette watches to see how each family communicates under pressure, and notices that while both sets of parents bring the boys into the task like adults, Ben’s family work calmly together, while Nicholas’s seems to suffer from a case of “too many cooks”.

Ultimately, Bernadette decides that Nicholas is the boy she wants to take on for one-to-one brain-training. She has noticed that he has important gifts, like business acumen and innovative thinking, but ignores details like spelling and organised storytelling. Bernadette believes that her guidance will help him get the best out of both school and his gifts.

Bernadette sets Nicholas the task of designing a new toy, building a prototype and preparing a sales pitch for some industry heavyweights. If he is to achieve this, Nicholas is going to have to learn that rules and structure are important, and that he needs to get his written work up to scratch. Bernadette begins by utilising a visualisation technique favoured by athletes like Tiger Woods. “You’re going to achieve great things,” she tells him in the boardroom. “And you’re going to do it right here, in this room, at this table.” She also identifies that Nicholas is a kinesthetic learner – someone who learns best through ‘doing’ rather than working on paper – and comes up with ways of improving his spelling by combining it with things he loves, like swimming.

With Bernadette’s help, can Nicholas come up with a killer concept, create a prototype and organise his thoughts into a coherent presentation for the toy company? It is a huge challenge for a ten-year-old boy – but Bernadette is convinced that her brain-training will get the best out of her student.

About the author

  • Mrs s hughes

    Are you looking for anymore children for Bernadette to work with?

  • Nikki Sahib

    Please can you help me? I am now 34years of age and all my life i have been classed has the ‘THINK’ one in my family. I have been good at what i do BUT always needed guildance. I am not confident in my work and think that everyone is going to find out that i am THINK these thoughts go on when i am in a social enviroment.

    I now have 2 children 4 year old and 6 month year old and now getting worried that i don’t know anything to teach them.

  • Norman

    I can recommend the book quantum learning which shows how to use the whole brain for learning. This covers subjects such as NLP, accelerated learning and Min Maps. It also uses music to put children in the optimum position to learn.If you wish to contact me about this, I’d be happy to help.

  • Deepa

    HI Nikki,
    I think I know you and just seeing your message I thought I must respond. I am a teacher and have worked with children for more than 14 years. I have been interested in child development for most of my life. I use a lot of what I have read and believe with my four year old daughter and wouldn’t mind sharing with you the sort of ideas I have and the activities I try and help her with. If you are interested let me know and maybe we can have a chat. I watched the programme on ‘How to Make your Child Brilliant’ and thought it was thought provoking and inspiring. Maybe we could discuss some of the things brought up on the programme. Deepa

  • Mrs Gurmeet Gradidge


    My child goes to a small private school in Doncaster.

    Would you be looking for anymore children in the next series.

    I would be delighted if you could work with my son as I feel he would
    benefit from your experience.



  • Anonymous

    I’m an educational consultant and have found Gregorcs Mind styles to be the most enlightening bit of information I’ve ever come across, and what this program highlights link so closely with Gregorc’s info. As an adult you can carry out a personal inventory but he doesn’t agree with one for children. It powerful for adults and well worth looking into, google it and its search result will give you some websites to look at.

  • Steve

    You are right. You have nothing to teach them.

  • Steve

    You are right. You have nothing to teach them.

  • Anonymous

    I think help with a re-evaluation of your life is what’s in order for you? It seems quite odd that you’re writing in to discuss your insecurities, when the programme is about enhancing and nurturing a child’s skill/attributes – or at least that’s my interpretation of the show?

    As a 34 year old, I suggest a little perspective is in order. Just to clarify – are you the ‘think’ one or the ‘thick’ one in your family? Having read your predicament it seems obvious that you’re unable to teach your children anything useful, unless you undertake the following:

    1) Learn English – always helps if you can structure sentences so that you can be understood and also form a coherent argument, so as not to come across as being ‘thick’!

    2) Deal with your insecurities – your children shouldn’t have to pay the price of you being an insecure, needy, desperate, over-compensating parent. Usually, people with such tendencies are also arrogant, self righteous, troublesome, riddled with jealousy, self-proclaiming and often cruel human beings? Hope that’s not you I’m describing or is it?

    3) Learn to be honest with yourself and others – if you can’t tell the truth what on earth are you going to teach your children? Do you tell tales a lot and create havoc for those around you because of your lies? If your fear is of getting caught out at work for being – as you put it – ‘THINK’, then it would seem apparent that you are telling a lie on a daily basis, since you are quite confident that you are in fact ‘THINK’. Those around you will always find out the truth – it’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

    4) I take it that you have sibling/s and that rivalry is the major cause of your anxiety? May be you need to take a step back and assess the causes of your conflict? Are your insecurities causing to you inflict pain on others? How much pain have you already caused your sibling/s? Do you get jealous of their success and put them down to validate your own worth?

    If you really want to teach your children anything of value, you will have to evaluate the root cause of why you’re asking these questions? Are you attempting to blame your family for your issues? No one other than yourself can be blamed for your insecurities, as you should know at the age of 34.

    Hope the above will help but if not I’d recommend seeking out a good psychiatrist? I’ve also sought out a couple of useful websites for you – enjoy!

  • Toni

    I love the show ‘How to Make your Child Brilliant’ I write down the exercises you do, to try on my own kids. I have a 7 and a 8 year old, both girls. But i am worried about my 7 year old, she struggles with everything and it is quite exhausting for both myself and the teachers. She is a very creative thinker tho and loves to play with her toys, its all she wants to do all the time, her attention span is very short when it comes to everything else, but i know theres something in her thats amazing i just need help to find it and bring it out. I really wish you could come to New Zealand and help me out, but realize thats a huge ask and not one you may consider but maybe if you could emailed me some pointers so i am able to help my daughter, it would mean the world to me. Thank you.

  • Sam

    May I just say that the comments made towards Nikki Sahib have absolutely stunned me! Here is a parent reaching out for help and being shot down by perfect strangers. Without knowing anything about this persons background, I am making the assumption that English may not be her first language, what right do you have to be so vicious? I’m sure that is not the purpose of this forum…totally unnecessary.

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