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The Learning Success Blog

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 Chronic 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

The times are a-changin' (at school too): Bob Dylan, Nobel Laureate

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 2, 2020 at 12:03 PM

Peter Barnes

In 1964, Bob Dylan sang:

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam….for the times they are a-changin'

Do you know the song?

Bob Dylan received a Nobel prize for literature in 2016. It was for the lyrics he wrote, like “The Times They are –a-Changin”.

He was right about that way back in 1964.

And the times are still changing. Especially in education. That’s thanks to educational neuroscience. It’s changing education in ways we could not have imagined.

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Topics: Brain Science, Educational Neuroscience

Make Educational Neuroscience Work in Your School - 7 Tips

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 25, 2019 at 2:25 PM

Peter Barnes

Educators and schools around the world are increasingly using the knowledge, techniques, and programs developed from a new understanding of how our brains learn. They are applying neuroscience in their classrooms.

Why?

As an educator, you might be asking yourself why would I do this in my school?

Here are some reasons why. Educational neuroscience can:

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Topics: Brain Science, School, Learning Capacity, For Principals

5 Essentials for Effective Neuroscience Learning Capacity Programs

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 18, 2019 at 5:12 PM

Peter Barnes

How do educators sort through the hype surrounding brain-based "neuroscience" learning programs?

Parents and educators have been seeing the benefits for students using well designed, research based brain training programs to improve their learning capacity. This has led more and more distributors of educational products to jump on the bandwagon and promote their products as "neuroscience based".

So if you have been noticing more advertisments, emails and other promotions using the terms "neuroscience" and "brain-based" as a basis for their products, how do you know what are valid claims and what is simple opportunistic use of these labels?

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity

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

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

Rebuilding a Brain after Chronic Inflammation: Sarah Rasborsek's Story

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 17, 2019 at 1:03 PM

Peter Barnes

Can you imagine what it would be like to suddenly forget your past, to have pounding headaches, dizziness and tremors?

To be unable to find words when you wanted to speak?      

To experience an extreme loss of energy, have your blood pressure drop dangerously low, and find yourself uncomfortably sensitive to sounds and sunlight?  

And to feel that as well as having no past, you have no future? 

Sarah Rasborsek did.  She experienced all that and more when she "fried her brain" and suffered chronic brain inflammation during a triathlon on Queensland's Gold Coast in January 2018.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity

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