Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Book Nook: Blind Spots - Why Students Fail and the Science That Can Save Them

 In the United States, a majority of students graduate below proficiency in all academic subjects. Parents of struggling students feel overwhelmed and confused about how to help their children simply survive school, let alone succeed. Various school reform efforts have been tried and all have failed. But all hope is not lost. A science exists that allows children to learn as individuals even though at school they are educated in groups. One that avoids senseless labels that sentence children to lifetimes of failure and mediocrity. 

Dr. Kimberly Berens and a team of scientists have spent the last 20 years perfecting a powerful system of instruction based on the learning, behavioral, and cognitive sciences that they call Fit Learning. This method of teaching has been proven to markedly improve how students understand and achieve, even for children who have been told they have learning disabilities or other disorders that interfere with their ability to learn.

I had a chance to review her book, Blind Spots: Why Students Fail and the Science That Can Save Them. It's a book that combines the history and challenges of education systems with anecdotal examples and science-based strategies for change. It was an interesting book to read. I have plenty of experience with kids who aren't successful with traditional ideas for education, or even some of the recent reforms - my two daughters, as well as myself, were not best served in a more traditional setting. As a teacher who has taught in charter, parochial, and public online, I know many students who have thrived when taught under different systems. But some of those systems don't work in every setting, or for every kid.

I didn't agree with every point made in the book. Some of them ran counter to my experience, but some of them very closely aligned with it. I think it's a great read for anyone - teacher, school administrator, or parent - who wants to examine approaches to education and refine their school to better fit the needs of more students.


Author bio: Kimberly Nix Berens, Ph.D., is a scientist-educator and Founder of Fit Learning.  She co-created a powerful system of instruction based in behavioral science and the Technology of Teaching, which has transformed the learning abilities of thousands of children worldwide, including those who are struggling, average, gifted, or learning disabled.  For more than 20 years, her system of instruction has produced one year’s worth of academic growth in only 40 hours of training. Her learning programs effectively target such essential areas as early learning skills, basic classroom readiness, phonemic awareness, reading fluency, comprehension, inferential language, basic and advanced mathematics, logical problem solving, grammar, and expressive writing. From her early beginnings in a broom closet at the University of Nevada – Reno, Dr. Berens has helped grow Fit Learning to an organization with more than 30 locations worldwide. She currently lives in Long Island with her husband and two children, where she oversees Fit Learning l

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