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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

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 a 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

Anne Donnell: Gallipoli Nurse’s Story on New Guided-Reading Technology

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 17, 2019 at 6:50 PM

Peter Barnes

A 100 year old set of diaries written by a World War 1 Australian nurse, Anne Donnell has become the basis of 19 lessons using e-Book technology designed to help young readers improve their reading fluency and comprehension.

First, Anne's diaries became a children's book, Anne Threw a Streamer, written by Jan Leader and Mitch Mitchell.

Then the book was specially adapted to the e-Book format on Reading Assistant Plus, which features voice recognition technology that can provide a class of students with non-judgemental real-time corrective feedback as they read aloud. 

Authors, Jan and Mitch spoke to The Learning Capacity Podcast about their family connection to Anne Donnell and how their book includes themes of Australian and World history, feminism, racism and compassion and sacrifice amid terrible suffering.

It was fascinating to hear that on her return from the War, Anne became a single mum adopting and raising an aboriginal half-caste girl.

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Teaching STEAM, “soft” Skills, Minecraft and Lego Robots: John Burfoot

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 5, 2019 at 1:14 PM

Peter Barnes

What is STEM and why did it become STEAM?  

I asked John Burfoot, a STEAM teacher in a New South Wales Primary school to explain and we recorded our chat as an episode of The Learning Capacity Podcast.         

John also told me about how STEAM lessons enable students to learn valuable 'soft' life skills, as well as technical and technological skills.

His journey from a student who failed all his final high school exams to a degree qualified teacher is inspirational, and can serve as a reminder to students that their lives are not defined by what marks they achieve in school exams.

He worked as an electronics apprentice, a job in avionics, and making explosives for special effects in films before realising his passion is teaching.

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Topics: Learning, Podcasts, Careers, Teaching

Evolution of Educational Neuroscience Technology in 21st Century

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 16, 2019 at 2:37 PM

Peter Barnes

What's changed in educational neuroscience technology this century?

How has neuroscience research and the development of technology impacted the tools educators have to improve learning outcomes for all students?

Recently I was interviewed on a podcast produced by Sentral, providers of proven web-based student management software.

The discussion focussed on how educational neuroscience and technology had changed in the last two decades, from the turn of the century in the year 2000, until now, almost 20 years later.

And it covered a wide sweep of topics as well - from how students are learning English in China with the help of educational neuroscience programs to some thoughts about cost versus value in educational decision making.

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Topics: Educational Neuroscience, Neurotech Programs

Are Teen Girls More Vulnerable to Bullying than Boys?

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 12, 2019 at 5:27 PM

Peter Barnes

Girls are bullied more often than boys. And are more likely to consider, plan, or attempt suicide as a result.

These are the conclusions from a Rutgers University study of 4 years of data from the USA Centre for Disease Control’s Youth Risk Behaviour Survey 2011-2015. The study, published in the journal Nursing Research, challenges the common belief that boys suffer most from bullying.

The study found the effects of bullying are significantly higher in females than males on every measure of psychological distress or suicidal thoughts and actions.

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Topics: Bullying

5 Keys for Building Maths Skills: Dr Dion Khlentzos

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 8, 2019 at 5:06 PM

Peter Barnes

After 20 years as a maths teacher and tutor, Dr Dion Khlentzos, has a clear view of what's necessary for building students' maths skills.

His top five keys to maths success include building on students' prior knowledge, relating maths to their everyday life and strengthening their motivation and belief in their own maths abilities.  

He discussed the five keys in an interview on The Learning Capacity Podcast where he commented on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and whether artificial intelligence will reduce the need for many people to understand maths. 

Dr Khlentzos also commented on how technology like Zoom and Skype has enabled maths tutoring to be delivered to students who find it hard to attend face to face sessions with a tutor.

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Topics: Maths

Learning Difficulties: 16 Terms Explained for Parents & Teachers

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 25, 2019 at 5:31 PM

Peter Barnes

If you have a child with language challenges, reading problems or learning difficulties, and you have sought help from their teacher, speech pathologist or other learning professional, you may have heard some unfamiliar terms.

Words like phonemic awareness, auditory processing, listening comprehension and working memory.

Listen to Episode 96 of The Learning Capacity Podcast for explanations of 16 common terms used in discussions about learning difficulties. Once you understand these, you should be able to have more productive discussions with your child's teacher or therapists.

  

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Reading, Fast ForWord, Listening Skills, Reading Difficulties

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