In today’s fast-paced environment, problem-solving skills and the ability to access and manage information are essential elements of success both in school and beyond. While learning content is also important, a problem-solving foundation is the real key to success in academics and life. The Engaging Minds methodology is designed to help students become 21st-century learners.
In person and online, our specially trained instructors work one-on-one with students and recalibrate their approach to the learning process. We meet students “where they are” academically, and because of this personalized approach, we are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of a wide range of students in grades 2-12.
In addition to our classic one-on-one executive function coaching (in-person and remote), we also offer executive function-focused enrichment electives via EM Academy. EM Academy electives are designed to excite students, increase academic engagement, and provide additional rigor and enrichment for those students that need it.
A unique aspect of the Engaging Minds methodology is its across-the-board applicability. Our focus on developing students’ problem-solving skills, which can be used to solve any problem in reading, math, science, social studies, or writing, results in across-the-board academic improvement. Of course, our instructors can provide content support, but it’s always done through the lens of teaching students how to “get unstuck” and more thoughtfully approach, organize, prioritize and self-monitor their work.
We recognize that for many students, the primary goal is to get homework done and learn content. We help students achieve that goal by using students’ own work to teach these valuable problem-solving skills. Rather than presenting strategies only theoretically, we ask students to immediately apply their learning to work that is meaningful and relevant. This reinforces the strategy and helps the student gain confidence using it. And by using a student’s school work, we not only pick up right where the classroom teacher leaves off, but we also engender greater engagement and build self-confidence.
Starting the process armed with data: The more we know the better we can do
We begin every Engaging Minds partnership with an “intake” information session. (We do not charge for our intake and data collection; we feel this is an important part of the process to ensure we effectively meet each child’s needs.) We spend time with parents and the student, together or individually, to begin to get to know the student personally and as a learner. This is the first step in helping us better understand each student’s challenges and opportunities. It’s just a conversation – but it’s a guided conversation by one of our trained instructors that will begin to paint a picture of the student’s learning profile.
We review any additional information the family can provide, such as school progress reports, neuropsychological and educational testing, educational plans like IEP’s and 504’s, and notes from teachers. We’re looking for any and all data that will give us greater insight into how each student learns so we can develop a learning plan to specifically meet their needs.
Once underway, from the very first session, our instructors work with students to further understand their learning style and areas of academic strengths and challenges. We begin with an interactive self-assessment that helps the student and instructor begin their work together on the same footing with a clear understanding of their focus in the first several sessions. As we work with the students in the following sessions, we pay close attention to how students approach their work and the strategies and techniques they use to accomplish various tasks. Our work with the student in these early sessions provides the foundation for the personalized learning plans we develop for each Engaging Mind student.
Building a toolbox of learning strategies
At Engaging Minds, we believe it’s important that students leave each session with a new or enhanced study skill or strategy to add to their ever-expanding toolbox and apply to their school work in the week ahead. This skill or strategy can range from a note-taking technique for an upcoming exam, to a new organizational or time-management skill to manage school assignments, to ideas on how to start a research report, to a framework for better reading comprehension. The idea is that these successes will build one upon one another and, over time, create a strong foundation of skills and strategies from which the student can draw whenever necessary. These successes also work to engage students in the learning process and help develop intrinsic motivation.