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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

What's Happening with Artificial Intelligence in Education & Learning?

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 10, 2019 at 5:33 PM

Peter Barnes

What's artificial intelligence got to do with learning and education? Actually, as it turns out quite a lot and in the future it may have an even bigger impact on how teachers teach and how students learn.

I was fortunate to attend the Australian Tutoring Association 2019 annual conference in Melbourne, where I heard educator Moya Gibb Smith give a presentation about the role of artificial intelligence (or AI as its generally known) in education and learning and how it's going to affect students, teachers, and tutors.

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Topics: Learning, Podcasts, Teaching, Successful Schools, Neurotech Programs

Neuro-performance: Better Brains for Sport, Business and Learning

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 10, 2019 at 1:53 PM

Peter Barnes

According to Dr David Bach, a Harvard-trained scientist, physician and serial entrepreneur, the rapidly developing “neuro-performance” industry will change what we understand about the limits of human performance in sport, business and learning.

As a parent or teacher, why should you care about this?  And what is neuro-performance anyway?

Neuro-performance is the practice of improving brain function to achieve a higher level of human performance...including speed, strength, decision-making, learning, thinking and the ability to perform under pressure by training the brain so it’s messages are clear, accurate and fast.

It is now being used in elite sports and in business to enable participants to achieve greater levels of performance.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity, Adult Brain Fitness, Neurotech Programs

Tutor Anne-Marie O'Hagan: Importance of Family Involvement in Learning

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 30, 2019 at 12:31 PM

Peter Barnes

My brother, a primary school Principal, told me he often noticed the kids who did well at school had families who were very engaged in their education and in the school community. 

That's not to say children can't achieve at school if their families are not involved.

But it's an interesting observation.

So I thought I would explore the impact of family involvement on a special category of students - those struggling with their learning.  And I spoke with Anne-Marie O'Hagan, a former teacher and now a tutor working with struggling students for her perspective on this issue.

We recorded our conversation for an episode of The Learning Capacity Podcast.

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Topics: Learning, Teaching

Dyslexia: Intervene Early to Improve Brain's Auditory Processing Speed

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 18, 2019 at 1:46 PM

Peter Barnes

Earlier intervention for children at risk of reading problems, and strengthening the area of their brains that distributes sound will probably prevent a lot of reading failures.

These are some of the conclusions from the latest (2019) research into dyslexia, according to Dr Martha Burns when she presented Scientific Learning Corporation's 5th annual webinar on updates to dyslexia research to mark Dyslexia Awareness Month, in October.

Dr Burns referenced many of the articles about dyslexia which were published in 2019.

Here are highlights from just two of the 2019 articles (courtesy of Amy Takabori from the Science of Learning Blog).

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Topics: Dyslexia, Reading Difficulties

34 Dyslexia Questions & Answers with Dr Martha Burns

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 11, 2019 at 4:53 PM

Peter Barnes

Dr Martha Burns Do you have questions about Dyslexia? 

What is it? What are the causes of this challenging condition?

How are brain scientists and researchers progressing in their quest to understand Dyslexia? And most importantly what are the latest interventions making a difference for people with Dyslexia?

In October each year during Dyslexia Awareness Month, Dr Martha Burns presents an insightful summary of the latest research into the cognitive, genetic and processing differences associated with Dyslexia.

You can listen to her October 2019 presentation by clicking the button at the end of this post.  
 
Following her talk she answered questions from the audience. Here they are:

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Topics: Dyslexia, Reading, Reading Difficulties

“Word Nerd” Leonie Swift: Why Plain English is Key to Communication

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 1, 2019 at 9:42 PM

Peter Barnes

Leonie Swift is a self-described ‘word nerd”. She’s a former librarian with a passion for Plain English. Leonie now teaches people how to write in Plain English so their readers get the message easily and understand clearly what’s been written.

She says Plain English is not only useful for writing documents, school assignments, articles, reports and so on. It’s applicable everywhere, even for writing on street signs.

I recently chatted with Leonie on the Learning Capacity Podcast where she explained why Plain English is not just “dumbing down” writing but is so important if you want to get your message understood. 

And she gives some examples of how it can also be fun.

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Topics: Writing

Devon Barnes: 35 Years in the “Learning Difficulties Mindfield” .

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 9, 2019 at 3:53 PM

Peter Barnes

Learning difficulties are based in the mind, or more specifically in the brain, according to speech pathologist and learning difficulties specialist Devon Barnes. She has been working for the past 35 years with children who have a wide range of learning challenges.

In an discussion with learning support teacher Moya Gibb-Smith, Devon describes the challenges for parents in what she calls the "Learning Difficulties Mindfield". And gives some advice on how to sort the hype from reality when parents are trying to decide how to help their child.

What's the first thing a parent should do it they are concerned their child may have a learning difficulty?  Speak to the child's teacher, says Devon.

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Brain Science

Brain Fitness for Children in 26 Centres Across Asia & the Middle East

Posted by Peter Barnes on July 16, 2019 at 7:46 AM

Peter Barnes

How can you improve the learning ability, intelligence and emotional quotient (EQ) of children of all ages? Cheryl Chia is a Singapore based mother of 2 young girls, author of a book titled “Fit Brains Learn Better: A Chronicle of 12 years of Brain Fitness Training” , and the founder of BrainFit, a service which focuses on helping children from birth to 18 years develop a learning advantage by strengthening their brain fitness and intelligence.

What drove Cheryl to find the time, energy and enterprise to build BrainFit from its original single location in Singapore to a network of 26 centres in eight countries across Asia and the Middle East?

And what has she been able to achieve for the children who attend the BrainFit programs and for their parents as well?    

Cheryl discusses her BrainFit journey in an episode of The Learning Capacity Podcast.

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Volunteer Hindu Scripture Teacher in Primary School: Kaushik Murali

Posted by Peter Barnes on July 1, 2019 at 5:31 PM

Peter Barnes

What's involved in becoming a volunteer scripture teacher at your local primary school?

There are differences depending on which country or state you are in, and which religion you wish to teach.

But many of the challenges will be similar regardless of jurisdiction or religion. Challenges like how to teach a class of students with a wide age range - from 6 to 12 years, how to answer "difficult questions" in a way that satisfies each child, and how much focus to put on the wider cultural aspects of a religion.

Sydney lawyer, Kaushik Murali, spoke to me on The Learning Capacity Podcast about his experience as a volunteer Hindu scripture teacher

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Topics: School, Teaching

Primary Teacher: Success for Her Struggling Students with Fast ForWord

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 23, 2019 at 2:10 PM

Peter Barnes

 "Our results with the Fast ForWord program show overwhelming success," says Tina Morse, Grade Two Teacher.

As a teacher and a parent, Tina knows first hand the many challenges struggling learners and readers face.

After trying the Fast ForWord123 language and reading program with her son to address auditory processing and language impairment issues, she saw his reading skill level improve eight months in only three months’ time.

It was then she realized how much this neuroscience-based program could help students at her school.

Read below for a quick summary - there is a link at the end of this summary to the full case study about helping students with dyslexia and other reading challenges make rapid gains.

One-on-one tutoring plus Fast ForWord123 for struggling readers

The school uses a one-on-one tutoring system based on the Orton–Gillingham multisensory approach to reading instruction. And they also give the struggling students individualised instruction via the Fast ForWord123  program for 30 minutes a day.

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Reading Difficulties, Fast ForWord123

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