At a recent neuroscience conference in the USA, I heard Dr Martha Burns give a wide-ranging talk summarising the latest neuroscience research about learning and learning disorders. She related the latest research findings to how the Fast ForWord & Reading Assistant programs improve language skills, reading and learning capacity for many children.
Dr Burns is a neuroscientist, author of over 100 journal articles and multiple books, and a leading expert on how children learn. Her talk covered topics including autism, attention & listening skills, working memory, self-regulation & cognitive control, dyslexia, intelligent tutoring systems, the neuroscience of learning, goal setting, and what's next for neuroscience.
There are probably as many different kinds of autism as there are children with autism spectrum disorders. There is tremendous variability. Recent research is showing that long fibre tracts in the brains of people with autism do not mature and there is a loss of pruning of dendrites as well in autistic brains. Read more
Attention & Listening Skills
Attention, listening, memory and ADHD – 80% of education is the teacher talking and the student listening. Attention matures just like other aspects of cognition but what if attention is impaired? Read more
Working memory is vitally important for learning, and it’s closely related to general intelligence. When you are improving working memory, you are building problem solving capability, building learning capacity. Read more
Self regulation & cognitive control
Can your student sit still? Can he listen to the teacher? Can she get through an assignment without getting up multiple times to do other things? Self regulation and cognitive control are areas now being intensively researched in neuroscience. They involve listening skills, working memory and development of the frontal lobe. Read more
What distinguishes a child with dyslexia from a typically developing child? Is there a way we can identify dyslexia based on understanding the brain? What is it about the brain that's different? Read more
Intelligent tutoring systems
What makes a tutor good? What makes a great tutor in your learning centre? What makes a tutor effective? What are intelligent tutoring systems? Read moreThe neuroscience of learning
Dr Burns said, "When I first started in neuroscience back in 1963, we were taught that the brain was divided into all these places and that those places had a job. And there's been about 100 years of trying to figure out what the job of each of these places was. Then decades later along came Dr Mike Merzenich and Dr Bill Jenkins who showed that instead of trying to figure out what each place did, we needed to look at the learning brain as a network". Read moreGoal setting
Whenever students have incentives that they are working towards, whether they are simple tokens or something bigger like a movie ticket, you are driving goal setting. How do Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant help teach a student to be goal orientated? Read moreWhere is Neuroscience Going Next?
The big question neuroscience is trying to answer now is, can you predict who will benefit from intervention? Read more