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64: Insight into Dr Michael Merzenich, and free book chapter download; The Brain That Changes Itself

Ever hear the phrase, “use it or lose it”? What if that applied to your brain? In this episode I bring you another excerpt from the amazing book, “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Dr Norman Doidge. In addition, there’s a link in the podcast directing you to the FREE download page, where you can download chapter 3 of the book for free. In this section of the book, we get an insight into Dr Michael Merzenich and some of the work he carried out that helped mainstream neuroscientists accept...


61: Educator Simon Brooks on the Student Centred vs Teacher Centred learning debate.

Teacher centred vs student centred learning is one of the debates that’s receiving a lot of attention around the world in modern education. And what about self directed learning? Are all students capable of being self directed, or does a student need a certain aptitude to make it work. My guest in this episode is Simon Brooks who now works with schools in the change management process as they consider new frameworks and ideas for education. Simon has worked extensively with the Project...


59: Simon Brooks on implementing Cultures of Thinking in schools and classrooms.

Simon Brooks has spent many years implementing the Cultures of Thinking framework in classroom contexts. He’s worked closely with Ron Ritchhart and the Cultures of Thinking team at Harvard University’s Project Zero. He now spends a great deal of his time helping teachers and schools implement Cultures of Thinking both at the individual level, and school wide. This kind of change often uses words and phrases like ‘new’ and ‘transformation’ or ‘forces that shape culture’. Whilst these terms...


56: Innovative principal Peter Hutton creating real education revolution at Templestowe College.

Peter Hutton doesn't just talk about education revolution. He makes it happen. As principal of Templestowe College in Victoria, he’s introduced innovations that some would either welcome, or strongly reject. Take for example the fact that as of 2015, the school does not organise its students into year levels; students can have phones in class; and they can take more, or less than six years to complete their secondary studies. Now in its sixth year of its transformation, Templestowe College...


45: Startup Muster CEO Monica Wulff on the emergence of EdTech startups in Australia

Startup businesses in the EdTech space seem to be appearing everywhere. Most of us might think of a new learning app, or some web based learning system that many schools are adopting. Monica Wulff regularly meets the people behind the scenes of these new technologies in her work at StartUp Muster, which is a kind of bureau of statistics for startups. It may come as a surprise, but Australia is thriving with startups, with a large proportion of founders having a background in education, and...


44: Pearson's Mimma Mason on the importance of working memory for learning

Mimma Mason is the Cogmed Manager for Pearson Australia, and spends much of her time raising awareness of working memory and its relationship to learning. Most of us might easily relate to long term memory, what we did a while back, or short term memory, like what we did yesterday. But do we give enough time to thinking about working memory? That’s what’s going on when we get exposed to new things, and it’s a critical part of the learning process. Poor working memory makes learning that...


43: Retired superintendent Mike McKay on wide scale Fast ForWord success in British Columbia, Canada

Mike McKay is now a retired superintendent of the Surrey County schools district in British Columbia. He was a public educator for 35 years. The area he supervised is said to have over 160 languages spoken. You can imagine it would be extremely difficult, if not nigh on impossible to measure the potential problems with language and reading development in such a large and diverse region. But back in 2008 he attended a conference hosted by Scientific Learning Corporation, where he was...


42: Mother Sally Wilcox shares her son's successful journey with Fast ForWord

Sally Wilcox noticed that her son Mac was becoming increasingly frustrated with writing and spelling when he was in grade 5. Thinking back, the early markers were already appearing in grade 1 when he had difficulty following instructions. In Mac’s words, it was very simple - he hated writing. On deeper investigation, Mac was diagnosed with what was called an auditory delay, or auditory processing disorder. At first Sally was told that this was developmental and that Mac would grow out of...


41: Fergus Ferry author John Williamson-Noble shares the joy of telling simple stories to children.

When lawyer John Williamson-Noble began creating stories for his son about a Sydney ferry named Fergus, he had little idea about how influential they would become. Nor did he realise that he would soon develop a skill in writing beautiful stories in rhyming couplets. Inspired by the everyday happenings on Sydney Harbour, the stories began to take on a life of their own, complete with simple messages about life that could help young people navigate the challenges of growing up. Whilst it...


39: Mother Jane McMillan shares Amelie's story with ADHD and Fast ForWord

This is the story of Amelie, who as a young primary aged girl was often described as a ‘busy child’. When Amelie’s parents, Jane and Craig were given the diagnosis for Amelie of ADHD, there were mixed feelings of relief, but also devastation as they knew there was a problem that needed to be addressed. Amelie was assessed at well below the relevant standards, being two years behind in writing and maths when she started grade 3. After researching extensively, Jane and Craig eventually...


38: What is a healthy weight? Dietician Kim Duggan-Larkin from Diabetes Victoria explains.

Healthy Body. Healthy Brain. This special edition episode is brought to you by LearnFast in conjunction with Diabetes Australia for Healthy Weight Week, 2016. Healthy weight is always a tricky issue, as everyone will have some kind of opinion on it. In this episode, accredited practising dietician Kim Duggan-Larkin, of Diabetes Victoria, makes it very clear that healthy weight is actually a very serious issue for general health, and the avoidance of health issues such as obesity, type 2...


37: Peter Carabi presents a global English language learning perspective with Fast ForWord

Language and reading, are universal skills required by everyone across the world. And with English being such a dominant language across the globe, there’s an increasing number of people looking for ways to improve their English literacy (especially for children), either because they have specific special needs, or because they need to improve their English for business reasons, or because for whatever reason there is an imperative to learn English. Peter Carabi, vice president of Global...


36: Creating Cultures of Thinking with Dr Ron Ritchhart from Harvard University

Creating Cultures of Thinking. In this episode we talk with Dr Ron Ritchhart who’s work is a part of Project Zero at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Project Zero is a 50 year old organisation that began with just a few researchers, and yet now boasts over 30 employees. Ron Ritchhart’s work on Cultures of Thinking has helped transform the process of learning in classrooms around the world, and today we talk specifically about his book, Creating Cultures of Thinking: the 8...


35: Karissa Woolfe from Diabetes NSW on sugar and healthy eating

Healthy body. Healthy brain. Are we eating too much sugar? In this episode we explore this issue again as we talk with Karissa Woolfe, an accredited practising dietician with Diabetes NSW. Whilst it appears that we are eating the right foods, it seems as though we are eating less of them in favour of what Karissa calls sometimes foods, or discretionary extras (now theres a mouthful). And on top of that, it seems as though these new foods are becoming what Karissa describes as more...


Frackman! Activist Dayne Pratzky’s incredible learning journey into the fight against coal seam gas

You might be wondering what coal seam gas has to do with learning, but for ordinary Australian, and now film maker Dayne Pratzky, the Frackman, it’s become a major issue. Australia is currently experiencing a “gas rush”, and when the Queensland Gas Company arrived at Dayne Pratzky’s home to inform him that drilling for coal seam gas was about to commence on his property, a battle started that would see Dayne become a global activist fighting against a multi-billion dollar industry. Dayne...


33. LearnFast highlights from 2015. Great stories of learning.

As we enter 2016, this episode is dedicated to all those involved in helping people build better brains for learning. Sure, this is a message about Fast ForWord, but it’s also so much more. It’s about great stories of learning, and at LearnFast, we collect those stories and podcast them to the world. We’ve spoken with teachers, parents, scientists, policy makers, researchers and even film makers in the search for great stories of learning. Just have a listen to these, and imagine what...


32: Father of six, Dr Con Kafataris tells of Fast ForWord success with his children Eleni & George.

In this episode we hear the story of Dr Con Kafataris, father of six, with two children currently working through the Fast ForWord programs. It was a little bit of a journey to find Fast ForWord for his children, but after trying a few avenues, including speech pathology, Dr Kafataris came across Fast ForWord through a book titled, “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Dr Norman Doidge. The science seemed plausible, so he decided to give it a go. In his own words, the changes have been...


31: Mini-Series 1 - Fast ForWord Success Stories

This is a 3 part mini series on Fast ForWord Success Stories. If you’re listening to this on our SoundCloud page, you might be seeing this as a playlist. Alternatively, and if you’re catching this on iTunes, look for episodes 9, 28 and 30. There’s quite a bit of talk going on these days in education about the emergence of neuroscience in education. Some are even talking about a scientific model of education, and not just pedagogy. But what is a neuroscience program? Fast ForWord is a...


30: Principal Dorothy Dore Tells of Fast ForWord Success at Urana Primary School

In this episode we talk with Dorothy Dore, Principal of Urana Public School. It’s a small school of around 30 students, located in the Riverina region of New South Wales. For about 5 years now, the school has implemented Fast ForWord with some amazing results. Comments like “improved articulation, sequencing of ideas, concentration, and retention of concepts” are often used to describe student progress. Can this really happen? Dorothy tells an energetic and convincing story. If you’d like...


What's in an ATAR? Careers adviser Gordon Doyle explains.

In this episode you’ll hear careers adviser Gordon Doyle answer the question, “What’s in an ATAR?” It’s getting close to the end of 2015 and no doubt students across the country will be wondering what their score will be, and if it will be enough. But what if it’s not enough? Do we hit the panic button? What about bonus points? How does that work? Is there some other pathway. Is there hope? Fortunately Gordon has some helpful answers. To get in touch with Gordon Doyle, call 0412 540 154 to...