‘Learning without Tears’…. A book review by Alison Price
The Official Publication of Astrology Toronto JAN/FEB 2012, VOL.22 No.3


Of all the astrology books I have had the pleasure of reviewing over the years Learning Without Tears is in a class of its own. Connerr takes the Mercury archetype, well known by astrologers, to a new level.

The author does not complicate the information being presented with an excess of technical terms, words and astrologese. She specifically uses regular language to get her message across to the layperson.

There is the option to skip the detailed astrological explanations, if you wish to clearly focus on the child's learning style, and not where it originates. With this brilliant approach, the author has subtlety woven birth chart features into mainstream education, which is directly aimed at parents and teachers.

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‘Learning without Tears’…. A Review by Mary Plumb.
As it appeared in ‘The Mountain Astrologer’, Issue No. 159, Oct/Nov 2011.

We know that astrology can be a profound tool for an objective appreciation of our differences, and Learning Without Tears is a unique book. Although the astrological content is in the background and is simple – basically, the sign position of Mercury in an individual’s chart – Helyn Connerr has a sophisticated understanding of the idea that “our minds are geared differently” and that we learn differently. The learning styles that she describes have to do with the “dynamics of thought”. It is not about behavior patterns, intelligence, ego structure, or personality. “Thinking and learning are hidden inner processes, not visible by observation.” Thus begins a detailed and accessible study of the 12 learning styles and how we can recognize, and work with, our own and others’.

The author is an educator, consultant, and astrologer. She originally designed the “Mercury Model” described in this book as a team-building tool for businesses to help people understand each other. She presents a very specific and detailed analysis of how Mercury in each sign learns, including how each Mercury placement approaches, processes, and retains information, as well as how to improve learning and how others may experience a person’s particular mental style.

The author easily makes the case that a child’s being taught about his own learning style early on can impact his entire life. For the parents to understand that the child’s mental strength is (most often) different from their own is a crucial step. If children are taught how they learn, that awareness will help them to ask for that style, or set it up for themselves, for the rest of their lives.

Not only are different styles a potential source of pain and difficulties within families, but certain styles are more valued by society and educational authorities. If we do not value our child’s mental strengths, then the child “will not value them either, and, over time, will lose touch with them. There is no doubt, talents and capacities will deteriorate, becoming rusty from lack of use”.

As adults, learning to recognize differences and how to communicate so that someone else will be able to understand us has profound consequences. I saw some of my own mental assumptions more vividly as I read this book, and learned how to communicate more effectively in my primary relationships. And I humbly (and belatedly) recognize that my natal Mercury in Aquarius may have been quite difficult for my two sons, now grown, both of whom have Mercury in feminine signs. I appreciate the author’s insights and can begin to practice some new skills.

The book is written for a general (non-astrological) audience. Without using astrological language, Connerr considers each sign, as well as classification by the Reaction style (masculine or feminine signs): the Approach (Initiator, Sustainer, and Adaptor, corresponding to cardinal, fixed, and mutable, respectively); and the Uptake style (fire, earth, air, and water).

Although the author’s lucid intelligence is obvious, this is not a cerebral work. The hints, tips, and strategies she offers include observation in nature and specific games for families and groups. She clearly addresses friction between different styles and gives suggestions for resolving tensions.

Her awareness of learning styles pervades the book. The last section, for instance, is not necessary for using the material in the book but is written for those whose minds need “background material, all the details, or the “big picture”, or if you simply enjoy new information”. Here, Connerr includes a simple and eloquent discussion of the astrological Mercury, as well as “the New Physics of thought”. Her work is derived from a synthesis of these perspectives. There is also a colourful picture for each of the styles (and in their various subgroups) for those whose minds respond to imagery.

The author provides Assessment Tables to Identify a Learning Style for births from 1915-2014: no ephemeris or other resource is needed to use the book.

Helyn Connerr writes that, when we truly acknowledge that “we all think and learn differently, personal relationships magically transform. In that moment of acceptance there is forgiveness.” She wrote the book with “the spirit and intention to foster such moments”.

This small book has value way beyond its modest price. If its contents were understood and applied, we would be living in a different world.

Learning Without Tears by Helyn Connerr, Watkins Publishing, Sixth Floor, Castle House,
75-76 Wells Street, London, W1T 3QH, England, 2008,
Softcover – 230 pp.
$14.95 (USA), $15.95 (Canada), £10.99 (UK). (ISBN 978-1-905857-53-1).

5.0 out of 5 stars Learning Without Tears, October 28, 2008
By Charles W. Owens, Professor Emeritus, University of New Hampshire

This review is from: Learning Without Tears: Identify a Child's Unique Learning Style*Unlock a Child's True Potential*Turn Tension into Talking (Paperback) I am impressed by this book. To parents, teachers, and others who care about children - and to children themselves, Learning Without Tears is a gift. Above all else, it is an affirmation and a reminder that different individuals have different - and equally valid - learning styles.

Some children learn best - and naturally - by dissecting and analyzing new ideas before accepting them, others by synthesizing original concepts from the world of information surrounding them. Some learn by seeing, others by discussing and debating, others by questioning. Ms Connerr profiles each of twelve distinct approaches to learning; she also points out that trying to force a given style of learning onto one who is not receptive to that style can be counter-productive for the learner and frustrating for the teacher. How much better for parents to understand and accept the individual learning styles of their children - perhaps a different one for each child -and to help them attain their full intellectual potentials! How much better for classroom teachers to recognize and respect the individualities of their students, rather than simply to teach the "class"!

By describing the various learning styles, in a form that is lively and entertaining, and by offering tips and suggestions for helping to teach children with a given style, Ms Connerr has provided a valuable and useful handbook for all educators. Although this book focuses initially and mainly on learning by young children, I could have used it as I tried to teach thousands of students at the university level. And many of them would have thanked me for doing so.

Besides being full of very fascinating and useful information - based on an enormous amount of study, research, and reflection, the book is highly readable. It is a book that certainly merits reading, and even more, merits discussion among groups of those charged with the developing the native intellects of all our children. It is an investment well worth the cover price!

5.0 out of 5 stars A Revelation!, November 24, 2008
By Mrs. A. Potter (Yorkshire, U.K.)

This review is from: Learning Without Tears: Identify a Child's Unique Learning Style*Unlock a Child's True Potential*Turn Tension into Talking (Paperback) "Learning without Tears" has helped me tremendously in truly understanding how my daughter "ticks". I was shocked to discover that my daughter's thoughts are visual and my practical, factual way of communicating was doing neither of us any favours. (If only this book had been available years ago). It is a system which celebrates and encourages different learning styles based on the position of the planet Mercury at birth.

I strongly recommend that parents and educators try this method.

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, November 18, 2008
By cnhm (Florida

This review is from: Learning Without Tears: Identify a Child's Unique Learning Style*Unlock a Child's True Potential*Turn Tension into Talking (Paperback) At first glance, it may appear this book is geared mainly to parents and teachers of children. I purchased this book and I can say it has broader applications. It discusses how children think, communicate, and learn differently based on Mercury's location in the natal chart - but in fact, the basic learning styles are relevant regardless of age. The book is broken down into chapters corresponding to natal Mercury in the signs. You can use the tables given to easily see which chapters correspond to the different Mercury positions.

I've gotten valuable insights out of this book and the way the author presents the information makes it an enjoyable read. I highly recommend this book.

A new model for education, December 21, 2008
By Thomas L. Canfield (Durham, NH)

This review is from: Learning Without Tears: Identify a Child's Unique Learning Style*Unlock a Child's True Potential*Turn Tension into Talking (Paperback) This book is a revelation in the world of education, showing that students are not just square pegs to be fitted into round holes.

The author presents the multi-faceted elements that constitute the young mind, and explains how teachers need to know the different features that make up each student. "Learning without Tears" should make teachers question "the tried and true" methods of indoctrination through memorization and parroting responses.

Helyn Connerr uses innovative cartoon characters as symbols for the different styles of learning. Teachers should start making charts for which character represents which student. Speaking as an Exec, I wish this system had been around when I was in school. Maybe my teachers would have been better organized in dealing with me.

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