An Eye Level education is about more than becoming proficient in math or English. Improving each student's skill set in these study areas is important, but our mission is more encompassing. Eye Level seeks to help students become problem solvers and self-directed learners. The results of which can be seen through increased motivation, confidence, independence, and improved study habits.
Self-directed learning does not mean learning on your own without help or guidance. It is about taking control of your own learning and realizing you are responsible for how much you achieve.
It starts with setting a goal. It can be beneficial to work this goal out with the student, as opposed to setting it for them. This is a collaborative effort between the instructor, student, and parent. Where would we like to be in three months? In 6 months? Then the center can work with the student to determine how best this goal can be reached.
A student that is on his way to becoming a self-directed learner will try a problem before seeking help. This is how one becomes a problem solver. When a child comes to a problem he has not seen before, he must think about what skills he learned in a previous lesson that could help in this case. Eye Level's small-step curriculum allows students to take previous concepts and apply them to the next. Thus, students can start to see the pattern and realize that, with a little effort, they can overcome a new challenge.
Self-directed learning at Eye Level involves guidance and motivation from the instructor and center director. A child is not left alone to decipher completely new concepts. The academic coaching time with the instructor is where new topics are discussed and examples are worked. The instructor is also there to answer students' questions throughout class. However, often it is important that the answer is not given directly. Instead, we must guide the student to see the path to the solution. Guiding the student to finding the answer, instead of giving the answer outright, will benefit the student the next time he comes across a similar problem. Help the child identify the key words or to consider what has been done on a similar problem to find the answer this time. This self-sufficiency will benefit the student when working at home without a teacher and on tests where questions can't be asked.
It is important that the parent reinforces this at home. Help your child by guiding him when he has questions. Then have him work another example or two of a similar problem with you to oversee. Lastly, let him solve a page with no supervision and check the result.
Essentially, self-directed learning is setting a goal, working with a mentor to determine the path, followed by consistent practice and guidance.