Welcome to the February 2018 Learning Brain News.

I hope you all had a satisfying break over the holidays.

Now school has started again for another year in Australia and New Zealand, my wish is for all students to enjoy school and to progress towards their potential. And for all teachers and parents to feel their students are making progress.

The Learning Brain News is written to help teachers, parents and their students navigate through the multitude of learning challenges school can present.

This month you can read new research about exercise and learning, watch a webinar on how to help struggling students, and learn more about the importance of social skills, plus much more.  

Best wishes,

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Devon Barnes
Learning Brain News

PS: Make sure you take a look at the short video about Positive Education. You will be hearing more about this and the power of using a strengths based approach to education.

Positive Education barriers.pngPositive Education Barriers

Dr Peggy Kern, from Melbourne Graduate School of Education, discusses barriers you might encounter if you want to introduce a Positive Education/Strengths approach in your school. Watch the 2 minute video.


Little happy boy playing with big ball and jumping with slight motion up, scene in park-292039-edited.jpegLatest Research

Exercising at Own Pace Boosts a Child’s Ability to Learn

Physical education teachers may need to review their teaching strategies following new research from the University of Sterling, UK. Researchers report children are more attentive and have improved memory when they exercise at their own pace, rather than embark on exhausting exercise. Read more.


Closeup portrait young mad, frustrated angry teenager girl yelling while on phone isolated white background. Negative human emotion facial expression feelings. Communication, conflict resolution.jpeg
Screen-Addicted Teens are Unhappy

Researchers found that teens who spent a lot of time in front of screen devices - playing computer games, using more social media, texting and video chatting - were less happy than those who invested time in non-screen activities like sports, reading newspapers and magazines, and face-to-face social interaction. Read more.



What's New

girl listening to music on a laptop mp3 music over a white background.jpeg

Computers are Getting Close to Being Able to Read Human Brains

It may sound like sci-fi, but mind reading equipment is much closer to becoming a reality than most people imagine. Researchers used a magnetic resonance machine to read participants' minds and find out what song they were listening to.

Read more.

What's On?



Leadership and Classroom Secrets to Help Struggling Students Achieve

On Friday 9th February LearnFast presented the live webinar "Leadership and Classroom Secrets to Help Struggling Students Achieve" hosted by educational expert Dr Eric Jensen. If you missed it you can access the recorded session from our Free Resources page.

In this webinar you will discover how learning environments and different teaching strategies impact brain development, and what school leaders and educators can do to help students of poverty catch up to their peers.

Watch it now.

Doidge_Pic.jpgDr Norman Doidge, Author of Best Seller 'The Brain That Changes Itself', 
visits Australia

The Power of Thought: Updates in Brain Plasticity - Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne: May 2018

Norman Doidge will explore some extraordinary advances made in the last 2 years in clinical applications of neuroplasticity, including the first reversals of dementia symptoms. Learn more.

The Learning Success Blog

Students with Better Social Skills Achieve Higher Test Scores

Hands, children, togetherness.jpegChildren who are co-operative, socially responsible and helpful in kindergarten achieve higher scores on reading, writing and numeracy tests in primary school, compared with children with less pro-social behaviour.

This is the finding from a 5-year study of more than 52,000 kindergarten students from nearly 2800 schools. The study was led by Dr Rebecca Collie at the University of New South Wales School of Education.

Test scores from the children’s NAPLAN (Australia’s National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy) in 2012 and 2014 were compared for four different social and emotional behavioural profiles observed when they were in kindergarten. Read more. 

Careers Guidance for Secondary Students

Top View of Boot on the trail with the text Whats Your Next Step?.jpegYear 12 Final Exam: Turning a Negative Result Into a Positive

The 2017 New South Wales Higher School Certificate (HSC) results were released on 14th December. For those who wish to attend a university in 2018 – or perhaps 2019 if they take a gap year – the ATARs (Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks) were released the following day.

For many, their efforts and high hopes will have been rewarded. For others, feelings approaching despair in some cases! Career Counsellor Gordon Doyle says, more than once I have answered knocks at my office door, fielded phone calls, text messages or e-mails saying something along these lines: “I didn’t get the ATAR I need to get into my course. My life might just as well be over!”

But there is always a way! Read Gordon's advice here.

Free Download

Cute pupil working at her desk on white background.jpegMaths Skills Booster – February 2018 Worksheets

Thanks again for sending through your Maths Skills Booster feedback. Some of you mentioned that left handed people were finding the worksheets difficult to use so we've modified them. 

Ready for your new set of Maths Skills Booster Worksheets? You can download the February worksheets here. (They are now easy for left-handed students to use too!).

Did you miss out on the original Maths Skills Booster? You can get it here.

13 Free Teacher Downloads for Back to School

Downloadable and printable back-to-school resources from Edutopia.

2018 Teacher Calendar for the Classroom

Get your free printable 2018 calendar for your classroom from We Are Teachers.

Behave book.jpgBook of the Month

Behave - The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

The celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist, Robert M Sapolsky, has written a landmark, genre-defining examination of human behaviour, both good and bad, and an answer to the question: Why do we do the things we do?

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Learn more.

SZapp app.pngApp of the Month

You Can Now Read The Learning Brain News on an App

Download the free Schoolzine App to access the current and past Learning Brain News at any time.

Go to the App Store or Google Play, download the SZapp App, select 'New Subscription', 'Australia', 'NSW', and search for 'The Learning Brain News'.