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Modeling “Genius” Learners using NLP

April 15th, 2013 by Tony Barlow

Model Genius learners with NLP DubaiWe have all seen students who seem to learn things at a much faster rate than everyone else, perhaps you are one of them. I’m talking about students who are able to read something once and memorize and understand it easily. Learning math concepts is a breeze and just comes naturally to them. We call them ‘the smart kid’, the ‘quick study’ and sometimes if they are beyond smart we may refer to them as a ‘genius’. These are the types of students that I am always interviewing to find out how they do it, because I believe it is a matter knowing how and its not something you are born into.


Modeling exceptional people is what NLP is all about. In order to accelerate learning ability the formula works like something this: 1 find people who are learning geniuses, 2 build a model of their behaviors beliefs and thought process, 3 teach others to do the same.

Who are the models ?

-The NLP Spelling strategy comes from Richard Bandler modeling spelling B champions.

-A lot of the language learning strategies come from a man called Powell Janulus who is a polygot listed in the guiness book of world records as fluently speaking 42 languages and was a certified court translator in 28 languages. Modeled by Robert Dilts & Marilyn Atkinson.

-I have modeled numerous students including award winning math students, students who have attained one time learning, meaning that they read something once and retain and understand the information immediately, students who are so far ahead the skip 2 or 3 grade levels in school and many others.


In order to replicate what a top student is doing I model the follow 3 things.

Beliefs of the model – What the student believes about the subject they are studying, their own abilities, school in general. If a student believes they are ‘not a math type person’, or that they are ‘not smart’ then even if you teach them wonderful mental strategies the student may block themselves from using them.

Motivation – Why am I doing this ? Wanting to do it is a big part, this is personalized to each student. Students who are motivated to want to do well have school connected up to what they perceive as important to them personally.

Mental strategies – The exact thought process the student goes through when they are listening to the teacher, or studying from their books.


I then start by teaching my students the mental strategies I’ve taken from the ‘genius’ learners.

When my students see how easily the strategies work their beliefs and motivation start to shift and if necessary I work directly on the beliefs and motivation levels of the student.

There are lots of NLP techniques that can be used to elicit what beliefs a person holds and how to change limiting beliefs to more useful ones and also what motivates and drives a person and how to utilize that information to motivate them in school.

Other resources to help you start learning quickly and easily

  • Book a 1-2-1 Session with Tony
  • Book a FREE ‘Find out More’ chat with Tony
  • Go to the Free Tips Page to find out more

Thank you for reading this article, I really appreciate you coming to my site, I hope you are enjoying and benefiting from the information here. This site is designed to be the ultimate free resource for students / parents of struggling students.

Please leave a comment below because I’d love to hear what you think!
Thanks again, and good luck!

6 Responses to “Modeling “Genius” Learners using NLP”

March 06, 2014 at 12:49 pm, Kholood said:

Hi Tony,
I’m not a student any more as I am almost a 30 year lady.
And I am really passionate about learning languages.
lately, I have come with this desire (I really want to be a professional translator & interpreter) but unfortunately that requires being fluent in at least 2 languages which I am not.
I am fluent only in Arabic (my mother tongue) and my English is quite good.So, I am really in doubt that I would be able to achieve that ambitious desire as it’s too late, and it require a lot of education, time and effort. So, would you please erase my doubts and courage me.

Thanks in advance,


March 06, 2014 at 7:20 pm, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Kholood, I can assure you that you are not to old to learn a 2nd, 3rd or even more languages. This is a common myth that adults do not learn languages as well as children. For example people will tell you that a small child moved to a new country will pick up a language very quickly but they (the adult) spent 4 years in school trying to learn a language and failed.
Adults actually have an advantage over children when it comes to learning languages because they have already built up many life experiences that they can connect to the words they are learning.
Its more about the method you use:
Powell Janulus (a court interpreter in Canada) who was entered into the Guiness book of world records in around 1990, could speak 42 languages fluently at the age of 38, at 18yrs he only spoke English.
He is now able to speak 60 or more. Mr. Janulus was modeled / studied by NLP trainer Robert Dilts around that time and a lot of the strategies I teach come from him.
The first language other that English he learned was Urdu. Everyone told him how difficult it would be and he was doubting to even start. He then came across a Pakistani man who was mentally disabled in some way but was able to speak Urdu fluently. So his

    starting belief

was. If this man can learn Urdu I’m sure I can learn it, I’m no more mentally disabled than he is !.
He is not some kind of freak ‘genius’ he just has a passion for languages and a very fast and effective method, achieving conversational fluency in 3 months in some cases.

His method for learning new languages in summary is the following:
1) Don’t bother learning grammar rules. Learning grammar rules is a waste of time. We all speak in our native language grammatically correctly automatically and unconsciously.
2) Don’t translate back to your native language. Don’t say “Chien in French is Dog” Connect the words you are learning to the actual objects or experiences directly. (This is the main key)
3) Janulus always learns from a native speaker/s. “I just communicate with ordinary people about ordinary things”
4) He pretends he has no other language in his head as if he is a baby. In the case of learning Urdu he lived with a Pakistani family. So in other words he learns in the same way we all learned our native language when we were children, by connecting new words to actual experiences, not to other words.

There are a few other parts to his method but I hope this has given you some inspiration.
I would be happy to give you a Skype session and help you more, There is also a company who teaches languages (Not sure which languages) based on Powell Janulus method. They are called Velocity Language Learning.

Good luck with your goal. The method of learning you choose is key.
Hope this helps,


March 19, 2016 at 7:45 am, Tobius Mott said:

Hi Tony your journey and what your sharing on your website is great!! I’m looking forward to learning more about these thinking strategies as I’m studying to be a teacher and will graduate this year. Their are definitely some gaps in my learning and I believe I will be able to overcome them with these new strategies you teach and be able to help other students when I’m teaching. Visualisation works really well for me as I have a great imagination and used visualisation techniques when I was playing Rugby Union and Rugby League on the edge of becoming a professional.
Look forward to our Skype call




March 19, 2016 at 9:47 am, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Tobius, Mental skills for sports, visualization, mental rehearsal, getting into your ideal performance state is now quite commonly taught, at least in the higher levels of sport. Mental skills for school are rarely taught. Most students have no idea what they should be doing inside their mind in order to perform well at the various learning tasks. I believe we should teach all students effective thinking strategies before we start presenting them with material to learn.
Look forward to Skyping with you tomorrow.


May 22, 2017 at 3:00 am, Craig said:

Have you found significantly different learning strategies for those who can memorize well and those who understand abstract concepts well?


May 22, 2017 at 4:37 am, Tony Barlow said:

Hi Craig, I’ve had students that can do both things well and others who do one of these things well and not the other. The majority of students who memorize well, both quickly and with good understanding use all of their thinking ie. imagined imagery, sounds, feelings with emotion. There are some students who you could say memorize well who will literally ‘take a photo’ of the text in a book (Eidetic vision / photographic memory) and will be able to memorize well to a certain extent but will not have as good an understanding as those who visualize the concept more. Some students I work with can understand difficult or abstract concepts easily but do not memorize school subjects well. Their mind tends to be highly intelligent but slightly out of their control, (Wild imagination !) sometimes with attention control problems or sometimes what you might call ‘gifted’. Some school subjects that require memorization of similar facts such as times tables or something they don’t have a personal interest in might be difficult to memorize. More importantly I have found that students who don’t memorize well can be taught to do so by teaching them an effective thinking strategy. Students who have trouble with understanding difficult concepts can be taught to do this well, they are probably not visualizing and just memorizing text by sound or otherwise. Hope this answers your question.


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