Welcome to the October 2019 Learning Brain News.

This month you can read about a new 110 page report recommending that schools implement evidence-based brain training to improve student outcomes.  Plus new perspectives on ADHD and how best to motivate children with autism to speak.

Devon NL signature jpeg..jpg

Devon Barnes
Learning Brain News

PS: Also, find out why a “word nerd” believes everyone should learn to write in Plain English.

Classroom learning_12225598Latest Research

Secret to more efficient learning

A new study could hold the key to learning languages, teaching children colours or even studying complex theories.

The research, published in Cognitive Science, adds to the existing evidence that we learn better when seeing an object before hearing its description. The study builds on past research by focusing on learning in "inconsistent" environments featuring different teaching styles or distracting noises. Read more.

What's New?

10 Brain Fitness Programs Recommended for Schools to Improve Executive Function

Brain Fitness and Executive FunctionA new 110 page report makes a clear case for integrating proven brain fitness programs into all school classrooms.

The report by Brain Futures, a not for profit organisation focussed on advancing the practical application of neuroscience research, states:

“Over a decade of research has shown that evidence-based programs can improve students’ executive function skills and prosocial behaviours, which are more accurate predictors of academic readiness and life success than IQ or any other performance markers”.

Read the report here.

Fast ForWord is one of the evidence-based programs named in the report.

What's On?



Leadership & Instructional Secrets to Help Struggling Students (Webinar)

The achievement gap between disadvantaged and better off students continues to be a problem. 

Dr. Eric Jensen, education expert and best selling author (Poor Students, Rich Teaching) presents ways educators can help disadvantaged students catch up to their peers. Hear his advice in this online presentation.


What’s the Best Therapy for Motivating Kids with Autism to Speak?

iStock-485018711sad young girl swingA new study from Stanford University School of Medicine shows pivotal response treatment (PRT) is better than ABA (Applied Behaviour Analysis) or conventional speech therapy to motivate children with autism to speak. 

The study involved 48 children aged 2 to 5 and took 6 months. The children all had autism and significant language delays.

The researchers state that the study’s promising findings need to be replicated in larger investigations. Read more.

Motivation for Learning

Never stop learningWant more motivated students? Boost their dopamine levels

Neurologist and former teacher, Judy Willis, says motivation is promoted by dopamine, a brain chemical that gives us a rush of satisfaction when we achieve a goal we’ve chosen.

Teachers can get more motivated students if they know how to boost their dopamine levels. And one great way to do that is to give students’ choice, she says. Read more.

iStock-532303709ball of lettersADHD

Secrets of Your ADHD Brain

People with ADHD don’t have a shortage of attention. They pay too much attention to everything. 

That’s how Dr William Dodson, a psychiatrist who specialises in ADHD, describes the condition.  He says the hallmark of the ADHD nervous system is not attention deficit, but inconsistent attention. Read more.

The Learning Success Podcast

Leonie Swift“Word Nerd” Explains Why Everyone Needs to Learn to Write in Plain English 

Leonie Swift is a self-described ‘word nerd”. She’s a former librarian who teaches people how to write in Plain English. 

She says Plain English is useful everywhere: for school assignments, essays, reports, instructional documents and even for writing on street signs.

Listen to Leonie explain why Plain English is not just “dumbing down” writing but is so important if you want to get your message understood.

kids on social media phonesThe Learning Capacity Blog

How to Learn from YouTube: For Your Studies, Hobbies and Work

YouTube is the most popular online video sharing platform in the world. And it provides many opportunities to learn new things and develop existing knowledge. Read more.

ESL_girlFree Download

10 tips to help teachers who have ELL/ESL students 

How can you help your English as a Second Language (ESL)/ English Language Learners (ELL) students participate more fully in the classroom?

Get 10 useful tips for teachers here.

Book of the Month

What’s Lost When We Rush Kids Through Childhood

Importance_of_being_littleErika Christakis, author of the best-selling book The Importance of Being Little: What Young Children Really Need From Grownups, says parents and teachers need to resist “adultifying” young children.

Many parents are so anxious about their children’s futures they are pushing them to grow up too fast, not giving them the time to just be little kids.

Read a recent interview where Erika explains the pitfalls of this all too common approach.

Headspace appApp of the Month


This is one of the first meditation apps, and it now includes mindfulness activities for kids with five themes: Calm, Focus, Kindness, Sleep, and Wake Up. 

Headspace is free to try.

Solutions to Learning Challenges