Bernstein received a B. A. (with honors) in "Philosophical Psychology" from the University of Chicago, and wrote a senior thesis on educational standards. Her Master's Degree was in Mathematics Education from the University of Maryland, and she earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland's Human Development Department also in the School of Education.
She did some substitute teaching and home instruction for Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties in Maryland, followed by several years of teaching Mathematics at Bowie State University, a small liberal arts institution. There she also taught a class in Mathematics Teaching Methods for students majoring in Education.
She then served as the Vice President of Academic Information Service, Inc. a small family run company that published annual editions of "The Tax Guide for College Teachers" and "The Tax Guide for Teachers" (The latter was aimed at primary and secondary school teachers).
Bernstein has published many articles on academic standards and teaching methods. A number of these are shown on this site. She has also written articles on mentally stimulating games to play with children. For example, she published some articles on challenging games to play with children of all ages on long car rides. (Many of these were specifically designed to be something that young children who don't know how to read or spell yet, can play along with adults and older children so whole families can play together.)
Bernstein also directed "Odyssey of the Mind" and "Destination Imagination" teams at her children's schools. These are problem solving tournaments for children in grades 2 through 12. They require both analytical skills and creative, out of the box solutions to all kinds of unusal problems. (For example, a team of kids might be given a box of material and told to make a gadget that will turn on a light switch from 6 feet away using only those items.) Her teams always were successful in getting to the state competition level, and the kids both had fun and learned a lot from these problem solving exercises.
Bernstein went on to teach dance, directing a company called DanceInTimeProductions. She produced a Latin Dance show for the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage and appeared with her dance students on the Fox Five Morning News in DC. She has also taught both credit and non-credit college dance classes---at the University of Maryland's Arts and Learning Center, George Mason University, Howard Community College, and the Peabody Institute for Music as well as workshops at special events in the US and abroad.
More recently, Bernstein has been the Director of the The Institute For Better Teaching Now, which promotes top flight instruction in our schools and the use of the arts in the curriculum.
Below are quotes from letters Barbara received after lessons/programs she provided
You are youthful and gifted but humble and understated, an amazing woman who makes sure to do business by putting people first. You are the kind of person who knows what she wants, goes for it, believes in it, but prefers doing no harm done while you move ahead.
Thank you for your e-mail. You have a very warm, relaxed and comfortable way about you…..
Jenny and I were thrilled with everything that you did. We will be delighted to be under your tutelage again one day in the not-so-distant future. Thank you, again!
Thanks so much for the encouragement. I would like to say that I think you are a very good instructor. You're patient and at times fast, but you're GOOD!!!!! I like your style.
Thank you so much for your class today. I appreciate your teaching style. You give clear directions and are inclusive, while attentive.
Thank you again for sharing your time and warm welcome.