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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

How to Use Strengths & Positive Psychology in Teaching - Penny Nesbitt

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 12, 2018 at 7:27 AM

Peter Barnes

Should we concentrate our teaching on trying to improve where students are performing badly, or focus more attention on helping them build on their existing strengths?

It shouldn't be an either /or choice. But according to positive psychology expert, Penny Nesbitt, working on a student's natural strengths will be more rewarding for both the student and their teacher.

Penny spoke to The Learning Capacity Podcast about the movement to positive education and how the strengths approach is being used in classrooms around the world.  She also spoke about the power to two little words:  "NOT YET".

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Topics: Confidence & Resilience, Podcasts, Social & Emotional Learning, Positive Psychology & Strengths

Are Robots Coming to a Classroom Near You?

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 9, 2018 at 5:07 PM

Peter Barnes

Maybe not soon.

robot

But it’s highly likely robots will be used to assist human teachers in the not too distant future.

That’s according to a research study by scientists from universities in USA, Japan and Europe.

The study involved a review of more than 100 published articles, which have shown robots to be effective at increasing learning outcomes.

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Topics: Neurotech Programs

Are You as Smart as a First Grade Student?

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 5, 2018 at 8:40 PM

Peter Barnes

Here is an interesting exercise that shows how an earlier reader will perceive a text differently (and in this case more accurately) than many experienced, competent readers.

You may have already seen it as it has been around for quite a while. It came to my attention when one of the Fast ForWord founding scientists published it recently.

Read the sentence below and see how you compare to a year one student: 

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Topics: Reading Assistant, Fast ForWord123

Dr Marianela Diaz - Innovative Early, Bilingual Education in Panama

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 30, 2018 at 4:12 PM

Peter Barnes

Psychologist and Educator, Dr Marianela Diaz searched the world for best practices in early learning before establishing the first Cleverest Education learning centre in Panama.  

She discovered Singapore leads in many aspects of early education and spoke about her experiences in a conversation on the Learning Capacity Podcast.

Dr Diaz says, "Since I am a psychologist and I'm into education, I know that the most important years are the very early on, the first five years is where you make your neuron connections. So, that's why we decided to go into early education". 

"I also wanted to do something that would actually coexist with cognitive learning and emotional learning".

Read More

Topics: Podcasts, Early Learners

10 New Fast ForWord Features Teachers & Parents Love

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 21, 2018 at 2:12 PM

Peter Barnes

More than 2.8 million students around the world have improved their learning and reading with the Fast ForWord123 neuroscience-based programs.

The scientists behind this evidence-based learning enhancement technology have been busy recently making it even more effective with improvements based on the usage data of all these students.  The result is Fast ForWord Foundations I, the flagship of the new Fast ForWord. 

Thanks to Logan De Ley, from Scientific Learning Corporation for the following list of the top ten big wins for students and educators.

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Mothers and Mothers-To-Be: Memory & Learning Reduced by too Much Sugar

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 21, 2018 at 3:27 PM

Peter Barnes

Too much sugar, especially from soft drinks, may damage your child’s learning ability and memory.

That’s the finding from a study of the diets of more than 1000 pregnant women and their children.  The study included assessments of the children’s cognitive skills at ages 3 and 7.

This research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests there may be learning benefits from reducing the sugar intake of women during pregnancy and limiting sugar consumption by their young children.  

Key findings include:

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Topics: Memory, Learning Capacity, Learning

50 Year study: Behaviour influences income more than IQ    

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 4, 2018 at 6:40 PM

Peter Barnes

New research shows behaviour in high school is a stronger predictor than IQ or socio-economic background of better jobs and higher income.  

The research has been published by the American Psychological Association based on data collected from 346,660 U.S. high school students in 1960 and follow up research 11 and 50 years later.

The 1960 high school phase measured a variety of student behaviours and attitudes as well as personality traits, cognitive abilities, parental socioeconomic status and demographic factors.

The follow-up surveys measured overall educational attainment, income and occupational prestige.

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Topics: School, Learning, Behaviour, Careers, Social & Emotional Learning

560 Sydney Primary Students Sign Pledge Against Bullying

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 25, 2018 at 10:37 AM

Peter Barnes

All 560 students at my granddaughter’s primary school in Sydney signed a massive banner with the pledge: “Standing Together Against Bullying”.

The banner is prominently displayed at the school’s entrance.  The mass signing is part of her school’s participation in the National Day of Action against Bullying & Violence.

Similar activities took place in many schools around Australia on March 16, 2018.

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Topics: Behaviour, Bullying, Social & Emotional Learning

How Do We Reduce Bullying in Our Schools?  NSW Government’s 4 Criteria

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 8, 2018 at 10:04 AM

Peter Barnes

A tiny minority in our community think kids who are bullied should just ‘suck it up” because it “builds character”. 

That’s nonsense.  It’s mid 20th century thinking. And even then it was a minority belief.

We now know that bullying can have devastating impacts. Students involved in bullying can develop behavioural and emotional problems and have trouble learning, according to many academic studies.

Parents and teachers know this, of course. They don’t need studies to tell them what they see happening to their children and students.

How can schools take a stand against bullying? 

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Topics: Bullying, Social & Emotional Learning

4 Year Old's First School Assignment: Make a Video & Post It Online

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 20, 2018 at 5:06 PM

Peter Barnes

My granddaughter has just done her first school assignment.

Like all the other children in her kindergarten class in her local state primary school she had to make a video about her family and upload it to a password protected website for all to share.

She is not quite five years old. And she’s using technology to communicate with others and express herself. It’s a 21st century show & tell.

I expect this little girl and her classmates probably didn’t think there was anything remarkable about that project. But it’s a significant example of how technology is becoming such an integral part of our lives.

Read More

Topics: School

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