All Kinds of News for October 04, 2017
This time of year, students entering Summit Achievement commonly have “school refusal” as a shared characteristic. Their personal stories range from feeling a lack or complete loss of motivation, to being bullied by peers or picked on by teachers, to falling behind in coursework and feeling they will never catch up... the list goes on. Parents and school staff have struggled to find a way to break down those barriers between the student and the classroom. The fear and anxiety of failure and rejection can be debilitating for these students. By incorporating classroom academics into the therapeutic program each week, we are in the unique position to help address these issues.
Members of the Academic Team recently had the opportunity to present at the regional New England NATSAP conference about how they work to get the anxious, school-avoiding students back in the classroom and reduce their fears and hopelessness while increasing motivation and confidence. Their presentation looked at aspects of a blended learning environment as tools for reintegrating school back into a student’s daily life. Presenters revealed how blended learning in a therapeutic setting gives anxious students the right amount of autonomy and support to lead them back to a pathway of classroom engagement and academic success.
At Summit Achievement, this blended learning environment puts the student back in control through an individualized academic path that utilizes self-paced online courses. They navigate these courses within a small class size accompanied by constant in-person support and instruction from teachers who work closely with every student’s therapist. Keeping up with peers in a large classroom with pop quizzes, daunting mid-term papers and one-size-fits-all instruction is removed and replaced with a clear list of lessons, assignments, and assessments that allow for short-term goals and the ability to adjust those goals as they gain a greater understanding of their learning style and needs.
The key components of the blended learning environment for the school-avoidant student includes courses, environment, teachers, and a varied and adjustable length of time. The web-based curriculum helps students gain comprehension in multiple subject areas at the same time by interacting with multi-disciplinary and multi-subject curricula. The curriculum methodology is multi-sensory with material being presented through text, video, hands-on/project based, and online interactive modules benefiting different learning styles. Supplementing the web-based curriculum for each course are textbooks, writing assignments, and research materials. Interventions and accommodations are also offered, as well as support in preparing students to transition back to a more traditional school setting, post graduation. Blended learning helps bridge the gap and allows students to move forward feeling empowered, as scaffolding has been gradually minimized.
Summits teachers and staff have found that blended learning provides the following benefits:
- provides structure without rigidity
- allows for individualization
- facilitates observation
- gives back control through choice
- reduces anxiety-less pressure in their school milieu
- barriers removed and needs met
- flexibility-space and time for growth
About Summit Achievement
Summit Achievement is, and always has been, guided by positive reinforcement and the power of choice. Our outcome-focused treatment program employs effective therapeutic and educational principals. Through the process of engaging therapy, classroom academics and exciting wilderness expeditions, students experience the therapeutic benefits of outdoor adventure-based activities while learning to manage the demands of a more traditional environment. As an intentionally small, owner-operated wilderness therapy program, we serve adolescent boys and girls, ages 13-20, from around the world.