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The Learning Success Blog

What is Neuroplasticity & How Does It Impact Education?  (Infographic)

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 5, 2016 at 3:05 PM

Peter Barnes

“Everything having to do with human training and education has to be re-examined in light of neuroplasticity". (Norman Doidge, author of "The Brain That Changes Itself”)

What is neuroplasticity? It is the understanding that experiences are able to change our brains, and that our brain’s structure and capacity are not fixed. The eminent neuroscientist, Dr Michael Merzenich, widely known as “the father of neuroplasticity”, recently shared the $1million Kavli Prize for his contribution to this understanding.

Neuroplasticity offers the prospect of new ways to improve learning and education, physical rehabilitation, mental illnesses and addiction.

An excellent infographic explaining neuroplasticity has been produced by Alta Mira, a San Francisco rehabilitation and recovery centre.  

 The infographic includes this comment about education:

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Topics: Educational Neuroscience, For Principals

How Important are Student-Teacher Interactions? Simon Brooks

Posted by Colin Klupiec on August 4, 2016 at 8:01 PM

Colin Klupiec

Cultures of Thinking is an educational framework that emerged from the work of Ron Ritchhart and the Project Zero team at Harvard University.

In a series of interviews with Educator, Simon Brooks, on The Learning Capacity Podcast I have been delving into each of the 8 cultural forces that, according to Ron Ritchhart, we must master in order to truly transform our schools.

Simon Brooks, who spent years implementing cultures of thinking into his classrooms, now helps teachers introduce the framework in their schools. 

This is Part 7 of the 8 part series with Simon Brooks about implementing cultures of thinking in our schools.

Listen to the podcast:

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Topics: Podcasts, For Principals

Fast ForWord Neuroscience Programs a Success at Covenant College

Posted by Peter Barnes on July 27, 2016 at 10:59 AM

Peter Barnes

“I’ve too many good results here with a range of children to not give all the kids an opportunity to do it”.

That's how Bruce Horman, Head of Junior School at Covenant College explained why he decided to have all children in Grade Three participate in the neuroscience-based Fast ForWord program in 2015.

Covenant College is a K -12 school with 540 students in Geelong, Victoria.

For the previous three years Covenant College had focussed the program on students from various grades who were presenting with a range of learning difficulties. They also included some students who were achieving in the mid range of their cohort, but had potential to do better.

Bruce commented, “I've seen that bright kids also benefit from Fast ForWord. It's not just for those kids who are really struggling”.

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity Success Stories, For Principals

Greg Miller shares new St Luke’s Catholic College Innovation Vision

Posted by Colin Klupiec on June 7, 2016 at 4:36 PM

Colin Klupiec

Greg Miller is the newly appointed Principal Leader of the new St Luke’s Catholic College in Sydney’s Marsden Park.

The new school will open its doors in 2017. While the opening of a new school doesn’t sound all that remarkable, St Luke’s will incorporate a complete, or whole school, approach to innovation.

It will also commit to continually working out how to move forward in an increasingly complex world.

Greg Miller spoke to me on the Learning Capacity Podcast and shared how he sees this unfolding.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Podcasts, For Principals

New Western Sydney School a Radical Shift from Traditional Education

Posted by Colin Klupiec on May 31, 2016 at 4:42 PM

Colin Klupiec

Real innovation in education, or just talk?

Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools for the Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta where he is responsible for 78 schools.

He is at the leading edge of education reform, and he joined me on the Learning Capacity Podcast to discuss the new St Luke’s College opening in Sydney’s Marsden Park in 2017.

Almost everything is up for a rethink, Greg Whitby said. Starting with how the new Principal Leader is selected, the new school will provide a radical shift from traditional school thinking. 

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Podcasts, For Principals

Educator Simon Brooks: Implementing Cultures of Thinking in Schools

Posted by Colin Klupiec on May 13, 2016 at 2:11 PM

Colin Klupiec

Simon Brooks spent many years implementing Cultures of Thinking in his classrooms.

He now helps teachers implement the framework in their schools. He’s worked closely with Ron Ritchhart and the Cultures of Thinking team at Harvard University’s Project Zero.

Whilst change can be a challenge for many, Simon’s passion to see children truly learn enables him to effectively share the long term benefits of Cultures of Thinking.

I caught up with Simon on the Learning Capacity Podcast to find out how he starts the conversation with schools and their teachers.

Listen to the podcast.


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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, For Principals

1 million Students Risk Reading Failure, says Dr Jennifer Buckingham

Posted by Colin Klupiec on May 10, 2016 at 5:02 PM

Colin Klupiec

It’s hard to believe, but 1 million Australian children are at risk of reading failure.

A research report released by the Centre for Independent Studies titled Read About It: Scientific Evidence for Effective Teaching of Reading suggests most children will need significant or intensive reading instruction.

Dr Jennifer Buckingham, editor of the report,  explained the problem in a discussion on the Learning Capacity Podcast, and the five keys to reading that can help address it.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: Comprehension, Reading, Podcasts, For Principals

Dr Pete Goss, Grattan Institute: About NAPLAN & Student Disadvantage

Posted by Colin Klupiec on May 6, 2016 at 5:07 PM

Colin Klupiec

It’s a sensitive issue, but disadvantaged students are definitely worse off.

A new analysis of NAPLAN  results shows a clear link between disadvantage and lower student achievement.

This is a national issue which affects us all.

Dr Peter Goss from the Grattan Institute spoke to me about it on the Learning Capacity podcast. Listen to him explain how we can use NAPLAN data to help identify where help is needed most.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, NAPLAN, For Principals

An Education Revolution: Templestowe College Principal Peter Hutton

Posted by Colin Klupiec on May 5, 2016 at 9:19 PM

Colin Klupiec

Templestowe College principal Peter Hutton is creating real education revolution. He’s introduced radical innovations that some would either welcome or reject. 

Now in its sixth year of its transformation, Templestowe College has gone from being a basket case on the verge of closing, to a thriving school where they have to turn away new student enrolments, and even applications from teachers desperate to get in. 

Why aren’t more schools like this?

I spoke to him during a break in the Improving Initial Teacher Education conference in Melbourne recently. Listen to the conversation on the Learning Capacity podcast. 

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, For Principals

Prof John Hattie: What Works Best & What Doesn’t Work in Education

Posted by Colin Klupiec on May 3, 2016 at 10:13 AM

Colin Klupiec

Have you ever wondered what doesn't work and what works best in education?

Well, Professor John Hattie has and in 2015 he wrote about it in two papers:

  • "What doesn’t work in education: The politics of distraction".
  • "What works best in education: The politics of collaborative expertise".

John Hattie is the Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the University of Melbourne.

He’s also the Chair of the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leaders, and co director of the Science of Learning Research Centre.

His work is known worldwide. 

The titles sound provocative and controversial. But the message is quite simple. One year of input should equal one year of progress, for all students, no matter where they start.

It sounds obvious, but John Hattie argues we are too easily distracted from the real issues. And we don’t harness the power of collaborating with our best educators to create what he calls a "coalition of the successful".

I caught up with John at the Improving Initial Teacher Education conference in Melbourne, in April 2016. He spoke to me on the Learning Capacity podcast where we dug a little bit deeper into these two papers.

Listen to the podcast.

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Topics: School, Learning, Podcasts, Teaching, For Principals

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