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The Learning Success Blog

It’s the Law: Every Child Must Read at Grade Level by Year 3

Posted by Moya Gibb-Smith on August 3, 2020 at 2:12 PM

Something had to be done!

So, with a vote of 92-3 the Alabama state parliament enacted the Alabama Literacy Act beginning in 2020 to ensure that every child was reading at grade level by Year 3.

They nominated a task force to recommend a comprehensive core reading program and assessments to be used by local schools and that job fell to Tim Solley.

Solley is a kindly, bespectacled, grey-haired man who looks like he could be your kid’s soccer coach. In fact, he is a leading educational advocate and the Assistant Superintendent of the Madison School District which comprises 17 different schools.

Solley takes up the story:

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Topics: School, Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity Success Stories, Educational Neuroscience, Teaching, Successful Schools

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

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

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

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

Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conference Series expands to Asia

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 6, 2017 at 9:48 AM

Peter Barnes

The premier educational neuroscience conference in Australia & New Zealand, ENS2017, is expanding to Asia following well attended events in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland in August this year. 

Principals, school administrators, teachers and other education leaders from Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand will be able to attend the Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conference Asia (ENS2017 ASIA) in November.

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Topics: Learning Enhancement, Learning Capacity, Educational Neuroscience, Teaching, Fast ForWord123, Conferences, ENS2017 ASIA

It Hurts to be Excluded - Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conferences

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 12, 2017 at 10:02 AM

Peter Barnes

Do you know what it feels like to be discriminated against, to be excluded?

I hope you don’t, it’s not nice.

It happened to me recently.  A travel insurance company told me they would not renew the annual travel insurance policy I’d had for years.

The reason?  I’ve had a birthday.  I’m a year older, and they don’t insure people my age on that policy.

Every day in our schools some kids feel discriminated against, feel excluded.  Because they are different in some way from the group. They may be physically different. They might have learning challenges and can’t keep up with the rest of the class.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning, Educational Neuroscience, Conferences

Monkeys Don't Eat Salad: Educating with Neuroscience 2017 Conference

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 30, 2017 at 2:39 PM

Peter Barnes

A friend of mine lives in a community in the foothills of the Himalayas in India. High above a fast-flowing, snow-fed stream which feeds into the mighty Ganges river.
 
It’s a remote clearing in the jungle-clad mountains, teeming with monkeys.
 
The residents had a long trek down the mountainside to the village in the valley below to buy vegetables. The village vegetables were not always fresh. So they tried growing their own.
 
But the monkeys ate everything. 
 
Except for leafy green salad vegetables.
 
Monkeys don’t eat salad.

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Topics: Brain Science, Educational Neuroscience, Conferences

How You Can Spot Weak Cognitive Skills in Your Classroom

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 22, 2017 at 3:31 PM

Peter Barnes

What’s happening in your students’ brains when they can’t follow your classroom instructions? What if a student doesn’t want to answer your question? And why do some students struggle to tell a story?

These are all signs that a student may have a weakness in one or more key cognitive skills. Skills essential for learning.

As well as language skills, we all need four key thinking skills for effective learning. They are: memory, attention, processing, and sequencing.

Here are some behaviours you might notice if your students have a weakness in these skills:

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Following Instructions, Fast ForWord, Educational Neuroscience, Early Learners

3 Famous Neuroscientists: How Brain Plasticity Helps Human Potential

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 26, 2016 at 1:50 PM

Peter Barnes

“The science of neuroplasticity is slowly but surely transforming how we think about ourselves and our brains, and how we can build a stronger brain that provides us with a better life,” said Dr Michael Merzenich.

He was speaking in a roundtable discussion with Professors Eve Marder and Carla Shatz following the trio’s receipt of the $1million 2016 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.

The three scientists discussed how their work disrupted a central dogma of neuroscience and how it offers the promise of plasticity-based treatments for people who are struggling to learn, have brain damage or who have brains at risk of mental illness or dementia.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord, Educational Neuroscience

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