Across a wide variety of disciplines, formalized education in the form of schooling is essential to teach multiple students simultaneously. However, some methods of learning can be inflexible and actually become detrimental to student outcomes when they fail to evolve.
Luckily, there are a few schools that choose to go against the grain in order to produce extraordinary results for their students. Here are 5 schools that are changing the way students learn:
- IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida
The tennis school at IMG Academy has a well-earned reputation for being the best tennis school in the United States, and their alumni include household names like Serena and Venus Williams. The school is renowned for setting the standard by which all other tennis schools are evaluated.
IMG’s tennis program is unique because its trainers and coaches work to customize development plans for each individual student. Students and their coaches communicate routinely and analyze video recordings of their matches, and there is a perfect balance between instruction and competition to keep student-athletes on their toes.
- Ron Clark Academy, Atlanta, Georgia
Ron Clark Academy (RCA) is a non-profit middle school in Atlanta, Georgia that has received recognition both in the US and around the world for its loving and dynamic learning environment. Academic excellence is encouraged in every student, and while students have high expectations placed on them, the fun learning environment engages them such that applying the effort required to succeed is no effort at all.
RCA is changing the way kids learn both across the US and around the world by inviting educators to observe and learn their methods and techniques. In this way, RCA doubles as a demonstration school where visiting educators learn best practice and apply it in workshops.
- Oclef School, San Jose, California
Did you know that around 80% of piano students drop out of learning in the first 3 years? Oclef started out as a software company exploring this problem, and they discovered the main culprit was the infrequency of the traditional model of once-a-week piano lessons.
Oclef School is changing the ways kids learn piano with multiple sessions per week that teach them how to make piano practice more efficient and engaging. The average student engages in a wide variety of classes 6 days a week. ‘Piano Every Day’, Oclef’s motto, has produced incredible results for the success rate of young and aspiring pianists.
- Russian School of Math, Newton, Massachusetts
The Russian School of Math (RSM) is an award-winning after-school maths enrichment program for K-12 students. Established in 1997 by Inessa Rifkin and Irene Khavinson after they fled the Soviet Union, the school has recently reached a milestone of over 40,000 students at locations around North America.
RSM’s approach to teaching mathematics to children focuses on promoting understanding of concepts, rather than on rote memorization. Students are encouraged to discover solutions, reflect on their method, and not to back down from problems they don’t immediately recognize.
- Bing Nursery School, Stanford, California
Bing Nursery School was first established in 1966 as a laboratory school for conducting research into child development. The school serves as an effective educational environment for children, but also as an educational environment for college students to learn about the development of young minds. Research studies that were conducted at Bing over the past decades are found within many textbooks on psychology, education, and linguistics. Some of these studies have even influenced public policy for children throughout the United States.
Every year, Bing welcomes it’s ‘Honored Guests’ (children), to explore their custom-designed classrooms. These children are encouraged to take learning into their own hands. Various objects like blocks, water, clay, sand and more are used as ‘vehicles’ to inspire children to explore and better understand their world.