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The Learning Success Blog

Peter Barnes

Peter Barnes has diverse background and experience that ranges from adult education & training in a human resources context, through learning & business innovation, to the leadership of large organisations. He has also worked in finance journalism, accountancy, and digital marketing.

Peter has been involved with the LearnFast Group since 2003, when he joined his wife, Devon, to help her manage the growth in the numbers of schools and individuals using LearnFast’s educational software programs to address language and literacy challenges for learners of all ages.

Peter is a passionate snow skier and has a wide range of interests – from mirror neurons, to American politics (and many others!). Peter has a vision for improving the education of future generations through the innovative and creative use of emerging technologies.

Recent Posts

8 months language & literacy gains in 2 months: gold standard research study

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 22, 2020 at 3:21 PM

Peter Barnes

Can you get your struggling students to achieve 4 times the reading growth you would normally expect from 2 months of teaching?

One group of primary and early high school students did last year.

Read how in the article below, reproduced from The Science of Learning Blog.

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Topics: Learning Capacity Success Stories, Fast ForWord123

Coroni Village: How 4 Kids are Coping Differently with School-at-Home

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 9, 2020 at 11:49 AM

Peter Barnes

Coroni Village.  That’s what my 5 year old granddaughter calls the world outside her family’s Sydney apartment, where they have been confined since the COVID-19 shutdown started.

I have no idea how she came up with that expression. No doubt it has to do with the number of times she has heard about Coronavirus. Both she and her older sister are doing school-at-home. So are their two cousins. 

“School-at-home” is a better description than “home schooling” for the situation most students are in now, with their schools shut or their parents deciding to keep them at home. That’s because “home schooling” is a deliberate choice by parents who take on the role of teachers. The “school-at-home” parents did not make that choice.

The vast majority of parents managing “school-at-home” are not teachers. They have no teaching expertise and are feeling uncomfortable being thrust into this role, even with the best remote learning support and resources from their kids’ schools. Plus, many parents are doing their regular work at home as well.

That sounds pretty tough – for the parents and the kids.

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Topics: School, Learning, Teaching

Out-of-School Learning Business - Rewards & Challenges: Monique Peters

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 8, 2020 at 9:40 AM

Peter Barnes

Monique Peters is a mother of a child with learning difficulties.

Her efforts to help him opened up a new world for her. A world of learning specialists, educators, tutors, neuroscientists, support groups and other parents desperate for a solution for their own learning disabled child.

Monique saw a need that was not being met from the range of existing services for families like hers.  So she established an out-of-school learning business to support parents like her and children like her son. It's called Brainwise Learning.

This is Monique's story.

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Poor Brain Connections Key Factor in Learning & Cognitive Difficulties

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 7, 2020 at 3:49 PM

Peter Barnes

New research from the University of Cambridge (UK) has confirmed that severe learning and cognitive difficulties are the result of poor connectivity between parts of the brain, and do not arise from specific brain regions, as some scientists previously thought.

Children who are struggling at school sometimes receive a formal diagnosis of a specific learning difficulty or disability. The diagnosis may be dyslexia, dyscalculia, developmental language disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia, or autism spectrum disorder, or a combination of these.

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How to Get 7 Months Reading Gains in 7 Weeks

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 7, 2020 at 3:48 PM

Peter Barnes

One of the largest school systems in the USA state of Alabama achieved average reading level gains of seven months in only 35 days. Students in 17 primary schools used a systemic, research-proven approach to reading intervention that developed cognitive skills essential to reading and learning.

“We felt that helping students with skills like memory, attention, and processing would be beneficial to their learning in any subject and have a greater impact on achievement. Our data so far has supported that belief, ” says Tim Solley, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Academic Accountability.

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What is Fast ForWord123?

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 2, 2020 at 1:55 PM

Peter Barnes

Fast ForWord123 (FFW123) is a unique 3 step, evidence-based method for increasing students’ capacity to learn. It is a powerfully effective and scientifically validated method for improving learning outcomes where English is the language of instruction.

This method blends the best of education technology with empathetic support of human factors and motivation from the “reward economy”.

It builds cognitive skills essential for learning, and simultaneously improves the four components for learning-in-the-English-language: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Scientists built & evolved FFW123 on 45 years of research

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity, Fast ForWord123

Building Student Learning Capacity - The Missing Link in Education

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 2, 2020 at 1:33 PM

Peter Barnes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all the students you teach would pay attention and more easily “get” what you are teaching them?

That’s impossible, you might say. Perhaps it is, but it’s not impossible to improve the attention and ability to learn for every one of your students. Listen to this podcast “Student Learning Capacity – The Missing Link in Education” to find out how.

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Topics: Learning Capacity, Arrowsmith program, Podcasts, For Principals

Educational Neuroscience:  A Wave of Change for Teachers & Students

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 2, 2020 at 1:25 PM

Peter Barnes

Is educational neuroscience a legitimate area of knowledge which can help teachers and students, or is it mostly "neurobabble" as some articles in the Melbourne Age and in The Conversation have recently suggested?

The authors of both these articles correctly point out that there is an increasing amount of brain-based language in education discussions. And also that much of the 'brain' and 'neuro' language being used has little scientific basis.

But that does not mean all discussion of the role of neuroscience in education should be dismissed as useless "neurobabble". In fact educational neuroscience is now a recognised scientific discipline which is being studied in some of the world's leading universities including Stanford, Columbia and Vanderbilt in the USA and Cambridge University in the UK.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity, Educational Neuroscience, For Principals

Sarah 2.0: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Inflammation

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 5, 2020 at 3:19 PM

Peter Barnes

What happens if you suffer chronic brain inflammation?  How does it affect you, physically, emotionally and cognitively?

And what can you do to help you recover?

Sarah Rasborsek, a young, healthy, successful woman enjoying her life, was stricken by brain inflammation.  Her world was turned upside down. I met her via a Learning Success Podcast interview in February 2019, where she explained what had happened and how difficult her life had become.

Now  a little over a year later, Sarah spoke to me again on another episode of the Podcast. She has made significant progress in her rehabilitation. But she explains she will be unlikely to return to how she was before the inflammation. She describes herself as a new Sarah - Sarah 2.0.

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Topics: Brain Science, Adult Brain Fitness, Fast ForWord123

The Brain That Changes Itself by Dr Norman Doidge: Book Review

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 5, 2020 at 1:45 PM

Peter Barnes

Dr Norman Doidge's best selling book , “The Brain That Changes Itself” did more than any other to change our view of the brain’s ability to “rewire”.

While Dr Doidge published it around the middle of the last decade, it remains an easily readable, fascinating account of how we came to know that brains are “plastic”.

Scientists, educators, and parents had believed brains are “hard-wired” - our abilities are limited by the structures in our brains.

In “The Brain That Changes Itself” Dr Doidge explains how that old belief has been replaced by the knowledge of “brain plasticity" – our abilities can be changed and improved by various forms of mental exercises.

Read More

Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord123

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