Welcome to the December 2014 edition of The Learning Brain.

In a few weeks, school will be over for 2014. Teachers, children and parents can all take a break from the school routine until it starts all over again next year. I hope you all have a chance to get some rest during the December/January holidays.

If you want some educational activities for your children during the holidays, this edition of The Learning Brain includes a Cursive Writing app, a Maths Tool (see the Free Download) and seven other links to projects, games, and interesting things to keep children occupied on long trips.

Plus, as usual, we publish summaries of interesting new research.

Kind regards,

Devon NL signature jpeg..jpg

PS: If you have a child due to start school next year, don’t miss 10 Ways to Tell Your Child’s School Readiness (it’s right at the foot of the newsletter).

Latest Research

New Knowledge about the Human Brain’s Plasticity

The brain’s plasticity and its adaptability to new situations does not function the way researchers previously thought, according to a new study published in the journal Cell. Earlier theories were based on results using laboratory animals, but now researchers at Karolinska Institute in Sweden have studied the human brain.

The results show that a type of support cell, the oligodendrocyte, which plays an important role in the cell-cell communication in the nervous system, is more sophisticated in humans than in rats and mice – a fact that may contribute to the superior plasticity of the human brain. Read More.

Free Download

Would you like your child to be more confident and better at maths?

The good and the bad news:

  • The good news: guaranteed improvements in maths tests
  • The bad news: parents have a role to play but it takes a student only 15 minutes every school day.

David Stanley, Learning Innovator and Maths Specialist for LearnFast Australia explains.

40 years ago, my parents were given a tip to help boost both my confidence with arithmetic and my math test results. It worked. What’s more it has since worked with all those it has been shared with and who have then used it.

The WOW factor was looking at this very analogue tool now with an understanding of neuroscience and realising that I have been the beneficiary of neuroscience based learning for 40 years!

So what’s the tip that allowed me to become really confident with maths and earn some pocket money with my “wins”? Find out by downloading this free Maths tool.

Book of the Month

Lost at School – Dr Ross W. Greene Ph.D.

Why Our Kids with Behavioural Challenges are Falling Through the Cracks and How We Can Help Them

Frequent visits to the Principal’s Office .. Detentions .. Suspensions .. Expulsions! These are the established tools of school discipline for kids who don’t abide by school rules, have a hard time getting along with other kids, don’t seem to respect authority, don’t seem interested in learning or are disrupting the learning of their classmates. But there’s a big problem with these strategies: They are ineffective for most of the students to whom they are applied. Read how Dr. Greene’s road-tested, evidence-based approach can help.

What’s On?

Give your child a learning boost these holidays

In just 8 weeks, our intensive online holiday programs can make a real difference in any child’s life – helping with school work and behaviour.

They can start the new school year with a greater learning capacity which will make learning easier in every school subject. Find out how here.

A Very Happy Mother Explains how Fast ForWord Helped her Children

In the November Learning Brain Newsletter we shared the outstanding results that Narooma Public School has had with the Fast ForWord Program.

LearnFast has since had the opportunity to speak with Therese – mother to three boys who go to Narooma Public School. Fast ForWord has helped her youngest son learn better and made his attitude to school much more positive. The results were so good she now has her middle son on the program. Read what Therese has to say about Fast ForWord.


Questions and Answers

Do you have questions about your child or students? Email us

Question: I think my child has an auditory processing weakness. His teacher has mentioned that he has difficulty hearing her when the other students are talking amongst themselves. Could she be right?

Answer: It’s important to first rule out the possiblity that your child may have a hearing problem. Once a hearing problem is ruled out it could be helpful to have him assessed by a Speech Pathologist.

A child with an auditory processing disorder can have difficulty perceiving, decoding, remembering and retrieving information that they hear. The following difficulties, in addition to difficulty listening when there is background noise, are signs of an Auditory Processing Difficulty:

  • Slow to respond to questions or follow instructions
  • Forgets complex instructions
  • Easily distracted during listening tasks
  • Better at listening in individual or small group situations than in large groups
  • Confuses similar sounding words (eg ‘comb’ and ‘cone’) during listening tasks
  • Has difficulties saying complex words (eg says ‘mazagine’ for ‘magazine’).

Further information can be found on my Blog “How Can I Tell if my Child has Auditory Processing Disorder?”