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Ace Academics Learning Centre

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – Ace Academics is a math and science focused tutoring organization serving students from grades 2 through 12. Founder, Sal Enslin, is dedicated to helping her students develop self-confidence, curiosity, and a sense of personal agency in their learning processes.
“Many students experience maths and science as a necessary evil. They think of these subjects as abstract and boring, and they often just want to get those over and done. Many students are convinced that they have no talent for this; that they are not smart and are often completely disengaged from the learning process, “ Enslin explains. “If I could show them that their brain is capable of way more than the school system has led them to believe, and give them the tools to find out what that might be… that would be incredible. If we could discover how each student learns, how that would play out in his or her environment, and how he or she could apply what we do to anything else they want to learn, it would enrich their lives a lot.”
Each tutoring session is unique, depending on the needs of the participating students. Additionally, the learning principles Enslin incorporates into these sessions, and the methods used to explore them, vary depending on the group. Many of her older students have been reading and discussing sections of The Art of Learning Student Guide in order to provide a general introduction to TAOL principles and open a conversation about their relationships to those concepts. Enslin is beginning to incorporate peer feedback in several of her tutoring sessions as a means to practice Investment in Loss. She is practicing Stress and Recovery with her students by taking breaks during difficult tasks to explore student passions and interests, and regularly incorporates Listening First into her work with each student in order to understand what drives them, how they learn, and any underlying needs that may affect their learning processes.

Blaine High School – Center for Engineering, Mathematics, and Science

BLAINE, MN – Jon Loo, an English teacher at Blaine High School and varsity hockey and lacrosse coach, developed a grade-wide study of The Art of Learning for the 10th grade English students. With a strong focus on engineering, math, and science, the educators at this school are devoted to developing and implementing a curriculum in grades 9-12 that will challenge students in all curricular areas.

The 10th grade English students read The Art of Learning during their non-fiction literature study following a fiction study of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

“We think that The Art of Learning is an ideal follow up to continue reinforcing the distinctions between classical and romantic, or integral and entity based paradigms,” explained Loo. “The thought processes and learning processes that Josh outlines as his secret to success are in concert with the path to the best engineering, mathematical and scientific accomplishments. The students will love Josh’s real-life story, appreciate his perseverance, and learn from his method.“

After reading the first two chapters of the book, the students began to discuss its relevance to the study of English. “When Josh discusses the ability to learn in multiple disciplines by immersing in one task, I think he’s tapping into the power of metaphor, which of course is the gateway to the study of language. Making connections between disciplines, benefiting on an unconscious level for a deeply singular conscious activity, studying the numbers to leave the numbers, these are the realizations that we discussed hoping to achieve,” Loo explained.

The culminating project in this unit of study was for the students to write and produce video documentaries of fictitious inventors who succeed because they work incrementally in the process of engineering something useful. “The creation of the documentary will give the students some video story telling skills while reinforcing the values and principles great scientists and engineers follow to achieve excellence in their fields.”

You can view the student films “Lighting the Way” and “The Cure for Brain Cancer” here or on our Educator Resources page.

Roosevelt Elementary School

FARMINGTON, MO. Math and science teacher, Brooke Wooten, is using The Art of Learning in her 4th- and 5th-grade classes to shape a progressive learning environment that fosters quality and excellence. Her goal, she says, “is to instill a love of learning in all subjects and enable students to realize their inner strengths and learn how to use those gifts to become successful.” She is also sharing the book with her students’ parents so that its message can be reinforced at home.

Groton-Dunstable Alliance for Youth (GDAY)

GROTON, MA. This organization’s mission is to reinforce healthy and respectful behavior among children, teens and communities. Says Alice Anne Barbo, its former president:

“The Groton-Dunstable Alliance for Youth (GDAY) used the books donated by the JW Foundation as a part of our Parent-to-Parent Network book discussion series.  We provided copies to the libraries in our towns and each school in the district, and also distributed them at GDAY events leading up to our book discussion. We encouraged families to view Searching for Bobby Fischer as a gateway to familiarize people with Josh Waitzkin and plant the seeds about the Art of Learning.  Many staff members at the Groton-Dunstable Middle and High Schools used this movie as well to encourage student/parent/guardian discussion about balance, fair play, and family values.

After the book discussion, GDAY continued to provide the books to local organizations that support youth development in our communities. The Groton-Dunstable SPED-Pac (Special Education Parent Advisory Group), GD-STEM (Groton Dunstable Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education foundation), the GD Athletic Boosters, and GDAY all have copies available to loan to community members including and not limited to parents, teachers and coaches. Copies of the book and a list of discussion points used in our Parent-to-Parent Network event were given to each area principal for use by school staffs.”

Alice reports that those who read the book through the book discussion and movie presentation programs learned valuable lessons and, more often than not, passed the book along to others. GDAY continues to showcase the book at their events, back to school nights, and other community outreach opportunities. “It is often said that things happen for a reason. I am pleased that networking with The JW Foundation happened to GDAY,” says Alice.