Book review: Blind Spots: Why Students fail and the science that can save them by kimberly berens,ph.d

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A science exists that allows children to learn as individuals even though they must be educated in groups. A science exists that avoids senseless labels that sentence children to lifetimes of failure and mediocrity.

The opening, the Introduction, hit me on a personal level. In the beginning, Berens talks about a child diagnosed with dyslexia and still failing with the adjusted teaching methods. I had recently had a parent-teacher conference discussing my child’s academic progress. My daughter, the six-year-old troublemaker who can’t focus on one thing for too long, struggles in school. Her teacher said something about if she doesn’t improve over the next few weeks, they are going to test her for any learning disabilities. So, I connected to the book instantly.

Students often get misdiagnosed from using the methods the teacher taught them. Sometimes it’s not that the student can’t do/learn something; they just haven’t learned the essential skill of what they are trying to learn. Berens research shows that if a student can acquire the necessary skill in a particular subject, then the rest will follow, not exactly that simple, but you get it.

Fit Learning, created by Berens, is a program that uses behavioral sciences to accelerate the core academic and cognitive skills of learners. Students can master the necessary skills in less than two days, using repetition and intense tutoring. The program helps people discover their blind spots.

When we realize something that we did not know we did not know. In other words, we discover something that I like to call blind spots. Imagine going through your entire life thinking that vanilla is the most delicious flavor of ice cream, because you didn’t know chocolate existed. Suddenly someone hands you a chocolate ice cream cone.

The book explains why our educational systems have failed us and show us other alternatives that can be applied. Some traditional methods do work on the majority, but I also think when the conventional methods aren’t working, it’s time to try something else. Most of us are creatures of habit, so our defense comes out when our old habits become challenged or questioned.

This book is an excellent read for parents, teachers, and students. It will teach readers to be more open in trying a different approach with students who aren’t getting or retaining the information as quickly as their peers. Before you label a child, seek and try other things to see what sticks.

Kimberly Nix Berens, Ph.D
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.

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