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The Learning Success Blog

Ekamai International School: Building English Language Brains Fast

Posted by Peter Barnes on December 1, 2017 at 3:23 PM

Peter Barnes

The Ekamai International School in Bangkok was close enough to visit whilst we were at the Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Asia conferences in November.

This Seventh Day Adventist school has over 1,300 K-12 students who come from 33 different countries and English is typically not their native language. 

I was intrigued to see the focus of Ekamai school’s leaders on the importance of English. Students can’t miss the prominently displayed signs proclaiming:         

Be Competitive Globally, Speak English Fluently  

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Topics: English Language Learners, Fast ForWord, Fast ForWord123

250 Research Studies Published on Fast ForWord & Reading Assistant

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 28, 2017 at 3:41 PM

Peter Barnes

How do you usually make decisions when you are thinking about an important purchase such as a car or a large household item like a refrigerator or washing machine?

Do you base your decisions on:

  1. How you feel (“I really like it”)?
  2. What others say about it?
  3. Comparisons of facts and data (fuel consumption, energy efficiency, reports by independent consumer organisations)?
  4. A combination of all of these.

Decisions about educational software

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Topics: English Language Learners, Fast ForWord, For Principals

New for English Language Learners: Build English Fast Resources

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 7, 2017 at 2:37 PM

Peter Barnes

Scientific Learning's new Build English Fast offline resources for English Language Learners are featured in the "2017 New Tools For Schools" by Tech & Learning Magazine.

Build English Fast neuroscience-designed software is designed to accelerate English language acquisition for English language learners (ELLs).

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Topics: English Language Learners

EAL Teacher Justine Lam Shares Success Stories With Reading Assistant

Posted by Colin Klupiec on July 28, 2016 at 5:46 PM

Colin Klupiec


English as an additional language teacher, Justine Lam, at Presbyterian Ladies College in Melbourne has been using the online reading tutor program, Reading Assistant, for two years. 

She spoke to the Learning Capacity Podcast about how successful it has been, not only for English Language Learners, but also for students struggling with reading. In this podcast episode Justine describes how pleased the teachers, students and their parents have been with Reading Assistant. And also how teachers play a very important role; it's not just the computer alone.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: English Language Learners, Reading, Learning Capacity Success Stories, Podcasts, Reading Assistant, English Language Learning Challenges

Peter Carabi: English Language Learning with Fast ForWord

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 23, 2016 at 2:03 PM

Peter Barnes

Language and reading are universal skills required by everyone across the world. And with English being such a dominant language, there are an increasing number of people looking for ways to improve their English literacy.

Peter Carabi, vice president of Global Business Development for Scientific Learning is in the privileged position of witnessing the effects of the Fast ForWord programs as they help people around the world with their language skills. He sees how this opens new opportunities for them and often completely changes the trajectory of young peoples’ lives.

The programs are based on neuroscience, and the concept that the brain is not fixed, but plastic, and has the capability to change itself. Peter describes it as one of the things that can give us all hope.

Colin Klupiec caught up with Peter at the biannual LearnFast summit in January 2016, on a sunny day in Manly on Sydney Harbour and recorded an interview for the Learning Capacity Podcast. Peter discussed English language learning and educational neuroscience.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: English Language Learners, Brain Science, Fast ForWord, Podcasts, Educational Neuroscience

Where is The Neuroscience of Learning Going Next on Dyslexia & ESL?

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 18, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Peter Barnes


Where is neuroscience going next?

"The big question neuroscience is trying to answer now is, can you predict who will benefit from intervention", said Dr Martha Burns in a recent presentation at a conference in Tuscon, USA.

Dr Martha Burns is a neuroscientist, author of over 100 journal articles and multiple books, and a leading expert on how children learn. 

Here is a summary of her presentation:

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Topics: English Language Learners, Brain Science, Dyslexia

Build the English Brain to Get Better Outcomes for ESL Students

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 22, 2015 at 11:37 AM

Peter Barnes

How can our schools get more from their limited resources for teaching English as a second language (ESL) students?

Australia's ESL student numbers are growing much faster than the number of teachers trained to help them acquire the English skills needed for success at school.

Consider these facts for NSW alone:

  • Up to 20% of students come from a language background other than English
  • There are 145,000 English as a second language students
  • This is a growth of over 60% in just three years
  •  The number (900) full-time ESL teachers in New South Wales has not increased in that time
  •  There is one full time ESL teacher for 160 students
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Topics: English Language Learners

Tips for Parents of Children Learning English as a Second Language

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 24, 2014 at 7:59 PM

Peter Barnes

Last week I read an article for parents of bilingual children.

It had 8 tips that can be helpful if you are raising a bilingual or multi-lingual child, regardless of what language they are learning.

Learning English as a second language - Here is some more information that might also be helpful if your children (or you) are learning English:

When you learn a second language – any language including English – there will be sounds in that language that may not occur in your mother tongue. If your brain has not been attuned to these sounds, you may find it difficult to pronounce them.

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Topics: English Language Learners, Fast ForWord

10 Tips for Working with ELL Students

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 26, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Peter Barnes


How can you help your English Language Learners (ELL) / English as a Second Language (ESL) students participate more fully in the classroom? These students are faced with a difficult task—absorbing content instruction while their English skills are still being developed.

A recent article by Hallie Smith MA CCC-SLP (speech language pathologist and educator) offers 10 useful tips to help teachers who have ELL / ESL students in their classes.

Her tips for teachers include:
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Topics: English Language Learners

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