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The Learning Success Blog

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.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord123

Attention, Listening Skills & Fast ForWord - Dr Martha Burns Update

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 29, 2020 at 2:36 PM

Peter Barnes

"Neuroscience now is very interested in attention disorders.", says Dr Martha Burns.

Dr Martha Burns is a neuroscientist, author of over 100 journal articles and multiple books, and a leading expert on how children learn. She explained:

"So what we were talking earlier about listening skills, that's the term teachers use. Listening skills. Can the child sit in the classroom and pay attention to me?

Listening skills is auditory attention. One of the great things about Fast ForWord is it builds auditory attention. One of the best studies that's independent, that it has a control group, is on auditory attention.

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Topics: Attention, Brain Science

ADHD, Auditory Processing Disorder or Specific Language Impairment?

Posted by Devon Barnes on January 20, 2020 at 8:00 PM

Devon Barnes

Many of the children I work with in my speech pathology clinic who have dyslexia also have additional difficulties with processing information and sustaining their attention.

They often have some or many of these challenges: 

  • Difficulty following verbal instructions
  • Need instructions to be repeated
  • Slow to process information
  • Easily overloaded with auditory information
  • Difficulty sustaining attention for learning tasks
  • A tendency to daydream
  • Easily distracted
  • Academic difficulties

These symptoms could indicate that they have one or more of the conditions known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), auditory processing disorder (APD), or specific language impairment (SLI).

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Topics: Auditory Processing Disorder, Attention, Learning Difficulties

When did you finish school? Does it matter for your brain?

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 20, 2020 at 2:50 PM

Peter Barnes

Did you finish school last year?  Last decade?  Last century?

Does it matter when? 

It might, if you want to keep your brain sharp and agile.

It’s unlikely you completed school last year. Most readers of this blog are older than that. You might have finished in the 2000’s. Or last century -  in the 1990’s, 1980’s, 1970’s or even earlier (like me!).

You learnt new things almost every day when you were in school.  Your brain was very active, building new neural pathways and strengthening existing ones.

If you finished school last decade or last century, it is likely you haven’t been learning new things nearly every day since then, and it’s the new things, the novel things, are best for keeping your brain sharp.

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Topics: Attention, Educational Neuroscience

Is Augmented Reality the Future of Learning?

Posted by Danielle Lewis on January 10, 2020 at 10:27 AM

There's a big chance that you've seen one of your students playing with a silly filter on Snapchat, or perhaps you've caught one of them wandering around campus playing Pokémon Go. While they may appear to be typical apps these days, an innovative technology makes them possible — augmented reality (AR).

Not to be confused with virtual reality (VR), which is technology designed to bring users into a simulated 3D world, AR changes the world of the user by adding digital elements into real life through a device.

Here's how this innovation can transform the field of education. 

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