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The Learning Success Blog

When Will Educational Neuroscience be an Integral Part of Teaching?

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 8, 2016 at 10:17 AM

Peter Barnes

“It's here now. If you haven't looked, you may not have noticed it.”

That's neuroscientist, Dr Steve Miller, speaking on The Learning Capacity Podcast about the emerging field of educational neuroscience.

He pointed out that neuroscience, the knowledge of how our brains work, is being applied in a range of diverse fields and has recently come to education.

Research from neuroscience is being applied in:

  • Professional athletics – to improve performance
  • The military - to make their elite teams consistently more elite
  • Medicine - for diagnosis and treatment
  • Business - to understand decision-making and consumer behaviour
  • Education - to improve teaching methodologies and learning outcomes

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Topics: Learning Capacity, Podcasts, Educational Neuroscience, For Principals

Could Too Much Sugar be Limiting Your Child's Learning Capacity?

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 27, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Peter Barnes

Have you ever asked yourself, “why do I allow my child to eat up to 30 teaspoons more sugar every day than global health guidelines”? 

Would you allow them to eat this much sugar if you knew that reducing it may help them improve their learning capacity (how well they are able to learn)? 

Australians and New Zealanders - men, women and children - eat on average about 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. The health recommendations are for no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons per day. 

How much sugar does your child actually eat everyday? It's probably much more than you think.

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Topics: Attention, Learning Capacity, Podcasts

How Technology Can Help Early Primary Students Improve Reading Skills

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 15, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Peter Barnes

What do we do about students who are having trouble learning to read when they are in early primary school? 

How do we help them improve reading skills?

There are a multitude of programs and approaches used in Australian and New Zealand schools, and schools around the world to try to solve this problem. One well known program is Reading Recovery but its effectiveness is doubtful according to various studies.

Other approaches have not been really helpful - we still have way too many students in primary and secondary schools whose deficient reading skills are limiting their capacity to learn, and to achieve in school and beyond.

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Topics: Brain Science, Reading, Learning Capacity, Learning

Educational Neuroscience:  A Wave of Change for Teachers & Students

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 23, 2015 at 10:56 AM

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

Is Educational Neuroscience for Real? Dr Martha Burns explains

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 21, 2015 at 5:08 PM

Peter Barnes

What is educational neuroscience? Is it a specialist area of knowledge or just a general title for intellectual sounding conversation? Can it help teachers get better learning outcomes for their students?

Maybe it's just "the latest thing" which will fade away in a year or two, just as many educational ideas that initially sound good, turn out not to be very useful.

Dr Martha Burns, Director of Neuroscience Education at Scientific Learning corporation answered these questions, and more, in a discussion on The Learning Capacity Podcast.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Dr Burns explains that educational neuroscience is a new branch of neuroscience.

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity, Learning, Podcasts, Educational Neuroscience

Grattan Institute’s Pete Goss talks NAPLAN 2015 and targeted teaching

Posted by Peter Barnes on September 4, 2015 at 12:53 PM

Peter Barnes

What is targeted teaching?  Does it produce better student outcomes? How do you implement it in your school?

The answers to these questions are included in a new report titled "Targeted Teaching: How Better Use of Data Can Improve Student Learning", from the independent think tank, the Grattan Institute.

Dr Pete Goss, Director of the Institute's School Education Program, spoke to The Learning Capacity Podcast about the report.

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Topics: Learning Capacity, Literacy, Maths, Podcasts, NAPLAN

Improving NAPLAN Results: Learning Capacity vs Accelerated Learning

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 19, 2015 at 2:24 PM

Peter Barnes

"When we build a student's Learning Capacity by using appropriate, validated neuroscience-based brain training exercises, is this the same as accelerated learning?"

An educator, who had read our blog, NAPLAN 2015: How Fast is it Possible to Improve Literacy & Numeracy?  asked this question recently. She was concerned about possible negative consequences for students who are pushed too hard to accelerate their learning, and wondered if improving the students' ability to learn could 'backfire'.

She said,"Unfortunately people consider ‘accelerated’ learning to be the answer to poor student performance. But this is counterproductive in the long term. I have seen too many students suffer from ‘burnout’ by they time finish high school, because they have been subjected to high performance syndrome and have lost motivation to continue learnng. They have been stretched prematurely".

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Topics: Brain Science, Reading, Learning Capacity, Learning, Literacy, Maths, NAPLAN

The New Science of Learning. Teachers Build Brains with Neuroscience

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 11, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Peter Barnes

Teachers do much more than just teach - they build student brains. 

This is the message from Dr Martha Burns, professor of communication sciences and disorders at Northwestern University, in a podcast episode on The Learning Capacity Podcast.

Dr Burns discusses the new science of learning, and how it involves educational neuroscience and understanding individual differences in children. 

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Brain Science, Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity, Maths, Podcasts

NAPLAN 2015: How Fast is it Possible to Improve Literacy & Numeracy?

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 7, 2015 at 5:50 PM

Peter Barnes

The publication of Australia’s 2015 NAPLAN results has sparked a multi-sided debate about how we improve student outcomes, particularly in literacy and numeracy.

Robert Randall, head of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) said this year's NAPLAN results showed "that at a national level we are seeing little change in student achievement in these important areas of learning*" (*literacy & numeracy).

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Topics: Brain Science, Reading, Learning Capacity, Learning, Literacy, Maths, NAPLAN, For Principals

New App for Schools: Educational Neuroscience, Brain Training, Reading

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 4, 2015 at 10:01 AM

Peter Barnes

Thanks to the new Session Monitor App, teachers can now monitor the program usage of a whole class of students working on the Fast ForWord brain training or Reading Assistant online reading coach programs from their iPads or smart phones.

The free App makes it easier for educators to deliver the benefits of brain training to large groups of students.  It works on iPads, iPhones and all Android smartphones and tablets.

The Fast ForWord & Reading Assistant Session Monitor App makes the teacher's role easier and more productive when working with the programs, because it:

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity

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