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The Learning Success Blog

Paying Attention: It's Harder Than You Think

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 19, 2017 at 12:33 PM

Tilly Stevens

We might think this is a simple case of distraction. But attention is in fact a much more complex function than most people realise. Do you ever forget what you came into a room to get? Or, have you ever been listening to an audio book only to realise that you stopped paying attention several pages back?

The following article by speech language pathologist and neuroscience educator, Dr Martha Burns, explains attention and describes how we can improve it by specific types of training.  The article was first published in The Science of Learning Blog.

In fact, trying to figure out exactly what attention is, and why some children find it easier than others, especially in school, has been the focus of psychologists for years.  As adults, we realise that the ability to attend carefully to a task, ignore distractions and stick with it, is something that takes time for children to develop.

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Topics: Attention, Attention Deficit Disorder

Do Girls Really Have More Maths Anxiety than Boys?

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 18, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Tilly Stevens

A recent study of 15-year-old students in 60 countries found girls tend to experience higher ‘maths anxiety’ than boys.

This seems to support the clichéd belief – boys are good at mathematics and sciences and girls are good at the more artistic subjects.

The study found the sexes are equal in mathematical capability. But girls have a negative emotional association with STEM subjects. And this holds females back, the study revealed. This results in fewer females than males taking maths programs at university. (STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).  

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Topics: Maths

Musical brains and where they can take your children in the future

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 18, 2017 at 10:29 AM

Tilly Stevens

It turns out that musical training can change our brains. Learning a musical instrument can improve cognitive functions such as motor function, auditory processing, emotion and social skills. 

Researchers at Mexico City’s Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez found 23 children showed dramatic changes in brain function after 9 months training with percussion instruments. 

The musical training made physical changes in the students’ brains. The two hemispheres of the brain communicated better. And the overall functioning of the children’s brains improved. Not only the brain regions related to music.

The results of this study suggest scientists may be able to develop music-based programs to help children with ADHD or autism.

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Topics: Brain Science, Music

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

Fast ForWord Founder: Award for Contribution to Neuroscience

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 10, 2017 at 5:48 PM

Tilly Stevens

Fast ForWord founder Dr. Michael Merzenich has been awarded the Charles L Branch Brain Health Award by the University of Texas for his extraordinary contribution to neuroscience. 

Last year Dr Merzenich was also given the highest honour possible in the field of neuroscience – The Kavli Prize. This saw him granted a gold medal by the King of Norway and a banquet in his honour in the same venue as the Nobel Peace Prize.  

Dr Merzenich’s discovery of lifelong brain plasticity revolutionised the neuroscience world.

Plasticity describes the brain’s ability to learn by creating new connections between neurons within the brain.

Originally, it was thought that brains were only ‘plastic’ during early childhood as the brain developed. But Dr Merzenich’s research proved brains could change and adapt well into adulthood.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord

Improve Executive Function with Fast ForWord123 Exercises

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 3, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Tilly Stevens

Your brain is an amazing organ. Countless studies, experiments and articles have shown us this. The complexities and inner-workings of this powerhouse are still yet to be fully explored. 

Have you ever stopped to think what controls your brain? What prevents it from becoming mere chaos?

Well, it’s called Executive Function, and you need to know about it.

What is Executive Function and why do we need it?

Executive Function acts like the ultimate synthesiser – the general, one might say. It encompasses a range of abilities many people think are merely part of day-to-day functioning. These include:

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Executive Function

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

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

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

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 22, 2017 at 11:12 AM

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?

Last year Bob Dylan received a Nobel prize for literature. 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

What is Fast ForWord123?

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 17, 2017 at 4:14 PM

Peter Barnes

Fast ForWord123 (FFW123) is a unique 3 step, evidence-based method for increasing students’ capacity to learn. It is a powerfully effective and scientifically validated method for improving learning outcomes where English is the language of instruction.

This method blends the best of education technology with empathetic support of human factors and motivation from the “reward economy”.

It builds cognitive skills essential for learning, and simultaneously improves the four components for learning-in-the-English-language: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Scientists built & evolved FFW123 on 45 years of research

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity

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