Sunday, December 30, 2012

Learning From Mistakes

Learning From Mistakes

“Why Wrong Is Not Always Bad” by Alina Tugend appeared in Education Week.  In it she wrote, “What I’m talking about is how so many of our children are taught, covertly, or overtly, that mistakes are something to be avoided at all costs, that there is only one right answer and if you don’t know it, well, you’re a failure.”

The Montessori Method has a whole different approach to mistakes or errors.  Montessori material is designed to be self-correcting, that’s one of the advantages of the Montessori Method.

Materials, or work, are created so that if the student makes a mistake they will realize it on their own, sometimes only at the end when a piece is leftover.  But the student has the opportunity to repeat the work and discover their mistake on their own, and to learn the correct way to do the work.

By discovering their mistake and correcting themselves, they are learning the underlying principle contained in that work.  This is a much more fruitful, holographic and lasting method of absorbing knowledge.  This makes the student the source of their own learning.  They are in charge of uncovering and discovering the knowledge they seek.

From The Absorbent Mind by Maria Montessori
“We come to a scientific principle which is also a path to perfection.  We call it “the control of error.”  Whatever is done in school, by teachers, children or others, there are bound to be mistakes.  So we need this rule as a part of school life: namely, that what matters is not so much correction in itself as that each individual should become aware of his own errors.  Each should have a means of checking, so that he can tell if he is right or not.”

“One of the first exercises done by our children is that with a set of cylinders of equal height but varying diameter, which fit into corresponding sockets in a block of wood.  The child begins fitting them one at a time into their sockets, but finds when she comes to the end that she has made a mistake.  One cylinder is left which is too large for the only remaining hole, while some of the others fit too loosely.  The child looks again and studies them all more closely.  She is now faced with a problem.  There is that cylinder left over, which shows that she has made a mistake.  It is just this that adds interest to the game and makes her repeat it time after time.”

“The child might say, “I am not perfect, I am not omnipotent, but this much I can do and I know it.  I also know that I can make mistakes and correct myself, thus finding my way.”  If in the daily routine of school we always arrange for errors to become perceptible, this is to place us on a path to perfection.”

Mistakes or errors are part of Montessori.
Embrace your path to perfection.

I rescue failing students by remedying the Barriers to Learning

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merit Based Scholarships

Merit Based Scholarships

Our society was built on the idea of meritocracy.  A person advances based on their abilities.

Twenty-seven states (54%) have a merit-based college scholarship program.

Help your child qualify for a merit-based college scholarship by remedying the Barriers to Learning, so that your child excels in school.

I rescue failing students by remedying the Barriers to Learning.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Learning Barrier One - Purpose & Value

Purpose & Value – Learning Barrier # One

From Education Week, December 11, 2012
U.S. Math, Science Achievement Exceeds World Average

In a finding that may come as little surprise, students across nations seem to lose some enthusiasm for math as they get older. Nearly half (48 percent) of 4th graders said they “like learning mathematics,” but that slipped to one-quarter (26 percent) by the time they hit 8th grade. And at both levels, that attitude has a correlation with test scores. That is, the less students like math, the lower their achievement, on average.

Another troubling indicator is that, across the globe, students report a drop in engagement with math lessons as they move from 4th to 8th grade. And once again, that level of engagement is correlated with a slip in average scores. The Engaged in Mathematics Lessons scale was based on responses to five questions, including “I know what my teacher expects me to do,” and “I am interested in what my teacher says.”

Meanwhile, many 4th graders around the world (69 percent) had math teachers who reported making efforts to use instructional practices intended to interest students and reinforce learning, such as posing questions to elicit reasons and explanations, and bringing interesting items to class. At the 8th grade, however, only 39 percent of students internationally reported that their teachers frequently related lessons to their daily lives, and just 18 percent said they had teachers who routinely brought interesting materials to class.

This is a PERFECT example of Learning Barrier # One – Purpose & Value.

What’s the purpose for learning a particular subject?  Why learn geometry, history, grammar, chemistry or any subject?

Related to that, what is its value?  What is it good for?  How can I use it in my life?

When a child doesn’t know the purpose for the subject, and can’t see any use for it in their life, they’re not going to pay attention and will probably do poorly in the subject, as is cited in the study above.

The way to remedy this Learning Barrier is to make sure your child understands why they need to learn a particular subject, and more importantly, how is the knowledge relevant to them?  How can they use it in their life?

For a step-by-step remedy to this Learning Barrier go to .

Sunday, December 9, 2012

'Soft Skills' Pushed as Part of College Readiness

'Soft Skills' Pushed as Part of College Readiness
Education Week,  November 14, 2012

To make it in college, students need to be up for the academic rigor. But that's not all. They also must be able to manage their own time, get along with roommates, and deal with setbacks. Resiliency and grit, along with the ability to communicate and advocate, are all crucial life skills. Yet, experts say, many teenagers lack them, and that's hurting college-completion rates.

"Millennials have had helicopter parents who have protected them," said Dan Jones, the president of the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors. "They haven't had the opportunity to struggle. When they come to college and bad things happen, they haven't developed resiliency and self-soothing skills."

College enrollment is growing, but graduation rates remain flat.  As educators look for ways to turn that showing around, many schools are incorporating the softer, non-cognitive skills into college-readiness efforts. The ability to solve problems and be resourceful are viewed by some experts as being as important as mastering mathematics and reading. Helping teenagers develop those skills is being addressed in high schools, college-freshman orientation, youth-development organizations, and parenting programs.

While I’m not a Millenial, these are skills I wish had been taught to me before going to college.  These were lessons that I, unfortunately, had to learn the hard way – living life.

I applaud schools looking beyond academics to prepare students for college with skills that will help them succeed in college as well as life.

I rescue failing students by remedying the Barriers to Learning.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Single Gender Education May Be the Answer

Single Gender Education Is Often Better

Boys learn differently from girls, this is why single gender schools are often better.  Classrooms are currently designed for the way girls learn but we’re asking boys to fit into them and learn.  Boys are spatial and need room to move around.  The Cherokee Creek Boys School understands this and has a unique blend of therapy, academics and outdoor activities. 

This school emphasizes Character Education through the use of Angles Arrrien’s Four-Fold Path.  The Four Fold Way is an educational experience that demonstrates how to “walk the mystical path with practical feet.”

The components are:
·         The Way of the Warrior or Leader
·         The Way of the Healer or Caretaker
·         The Way of the Visionary or Creative Problem Solver
·         The Way of the Teacher or Counselor

To learn more about the benefits of single gender schools go to