The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
Though many students come to Mathnasium having fallen behind their classmates, a mathematically advanced child sparked the learning program?s creation. As founder Larry Martinek?s young son, Nic, developed an appetite for higher-level math concepts, Larry found himself developing an entirely new teaching language to explain them in an age-appropriate way. The kind of instincts he sought to build up couldn?t be nurtured by drills and rote memorization. Instead, they required a deeper understanding of the principles at the root of mathematical operations, delivered in a way that grade-school kids could apply throughout their academic careers.
In just a decade?s time, Larry and his team have established Mathnasium centers in most U.S. states and more than a dozen in other countries. At each, highly trained tutors develop custom learning plans for students in grades K?12 based on The Mathnasium Method. The system combines an education strategy of conceptual, tactile, and visual techniques with a curriculum structure that ensures kids can count, think proportionally, and break complex problems into smaller components to solve simply. Tutors allow some time during each session to help students with the concepts in their math homework, and the centers regularly check report cards and standardized tests as further measures of progress.
In order to be hired by Acadamia.net, Inc., prospective instructors can't just waltz in with college degree in their area of study and a score of at least 29 on the ACT, although those are both required. They also must pass the company's rigorous snoozology test. During the daunting exam, instructors are faced with a challenge most teacher dread: maintaining the interest of a tired, bored high schooler. The instructors who pass this exam eventually lead high schoolers through intense ACT test prep courses that take a variety of forms and match all types of schedules. Some classes meet once a week for six weeks; others consume students with information during two-day 8-hour crash courses.
When not teaching the secrets of the ACT, the instructors help students with their general scholarly pursuits. They offer K-12 tutoring for all subjects, as well as GED Test prep for students looking to meet high school equivalency requirements.
With exciting stage shows and interactive workshops, Mad Science instills kids with a love of experimentation and knowledge of scientific principles. Scientists head to birthday parties and after-school programs to enliven heady topics such as chemistry and physics with educational spectacle, whether they’re displaying the power of electricity by turning a pickle into a light bulb or the power of trans-matter rays by turning a light bulb into a pickle. Kids can interact and even participate in the shows, becoming conduits for 200,000 volts of electricity and mixing up batches of gooey slime to take home.
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More than three decades ago, educator Larry Martinek set out on a mission to develop a curriculum that would radically change the traditional approach to teaching math. Noting a "disconnect between students' basic skills training and the curriculum they [must] master in the years to come," Larry created an original teaching method designed to turn students into miniature mathematicians capable of thinking critically to solve problems. His approach, which he describes as the cultivation of number sense, strives to sharpen students’ math instincts, rather than drill them with repetitive, memory-based exercises or force them to blackmail accountants to crunch the numbers. Soon after students began using Larry's method, their test scores began to rise. In the spring of 2002, Larry's dream came true. Peter Markovitz and David Ullendorff, leaders in the education industry, made Larry and his curriculum the driving force of Mathnasium. Larry introduced his curriculum as the Mathnasium Method.
Today, Mathnasium centers can be found throughout the world. Informed by Larry's visionary innovations, the program's tutors give personalized coaching that focuses on bolstering critical thinking through written materials and mental math, forsaking many of the teaching tools found in a traditional classroom. In addition, the tutors also focus on boosting students' enthusiasm for the subject, helping them overcome a lack of confidence in the classroom or their innate fear of prime numbers.