“I heard from a school about the great results they are getting from a neuroscience program. Then one of my staff pointed out a meta analysis that is critical of the program. I can’t understand why supposedly gold standard research - a meta analysis - is saying something totally different from what I hear is happening in other schools.”
If you are considering a product to help your brain or improve academic performance, what evidence would you rely on?
Many people don't want to read research and thus seek a trusted advisor. Sadly, they are often unaware of potential conflicts of interest.
A case in point is the Macquarie University's Special Education Centre (MUSEC) brief discussed herein, where Macquarie University crudely used one meta-analysis to support their commercial initiative.
Can you rely on MUSEC for an independent, impartial and unbiased opinion?
What about the practical, real world gold standard evidence: 20+ years of product validation by millions of users around the world:
In 1996 four world leaders in neuroscience, after 25 years of ground-breaking research, formed a company (Scientific Learning Corporation). Their core product - Fast ForWord® translates neuroplasticity-based training research into educational programs to develop learning capacity and reading skills. It has been continually revised and enhanced ever since.
Are you time poor and would like to quickly cover 40 years of research into:
- neuroscience and
- how this is being used in schools, sport and business?
You can access just the “nuggets of gold” on the above topics in 5 x 1 hour sessions delivered by 5 industry experts, each of whom is passionate about their subject.
This was inspired after an approach by Dr Tanya Vaughan to speak to attendees of the Educating with Neuroscience Conferences in Australia and New Zealand in August about the “Evidence for Learning Toolkit”.
Just how important is evidence in educators’ decision making? The survey also explored the types of evidence and how much was “enough” …
LearnFast provides the Fast ForWord program to schools in Australia and New Zealand.
A teacher from one of the schools using Fast ForWord sent us an email saying: “ One of the students has dyslexia and the mother will not let the child do Fast ForWord because of this Blog from an official publication of the International Dyslexia Association.”
It is difficult for parents to source objective and informed opinions to help them make decisions to help their child. How sad for them when incomplete information like this International Dyslexia Association blog from 2011 makes them fearful.
For many students, maths is no fun. And it may not have been a pleasant experience at school for their parents either.
Do you have students or a child who doesn’t like maths?
Dr Willis has written a great article for Psychology Today about our attitudes towards maths - maths negativity and maths positivity. In it she listed some common myths about maths:
A recent article in the Melbourne Age newspaper titled “Children with learning difficulties need programs based on science, not anecdote and neurobabble”, makes some valid points but misses key information about how the neuroscience-based program Fast ForWord helps with Dyslexia.
The author focused on children with reading difficulties, including dyslexia.
Recently, educator Colin Klupiec recorded our conversation where he teased out my understanding of how memorising maths tables can help students build learning capacity and the importance of the role played by parents. It is recorded in two parts on the Learning Capacity Podcast with the key points summarised below.
We discussed some findings from the neuroscientists around brain plasticity - the cognitive neuroscience and how it relates to what some people may think is a bit old-fashioned – rote learning, or learning by repetition.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST
The two largest challenges parents may have helping their child with maths homework are:
- Dealing with their own memories of doing maths at school - or not.
- A sense of urgency: wanting the child to be better, too quickly.
The parent has an essential role in their child’s learning as the parent’s attitude towards numeracy often rubs off on the student. If the parent did not enjoy or is not interested in numeracy, we often find the child has a similar disinterest. It would be beneficial if parents would focus on thinking about how they communicate maths with their child and changing to a positive conversation around numeracy.
People often ask why the 11 & 12 times tables are included in the LearnFast Maths Skills Booster when our number system is based on 10?
This is a good question and the answer has several components: neuroscience influence, practicality, legacy issues, and also some curious factors.