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An Untypical School

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

“Traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning. It incorrectly assumes that for every ounce of teaching there is an ounce of learning by those who are taught. However, most of what we learn before, during, and after attending schools is learned without its being taught to us. A child learns such fundamental things as how to walk, talk, eat, dress, and so on without being taught these things. Adults learn most of what they use at work or at leisure while at work or leisure. Most of what is taught in classroom settings is forgotten, and much or what is remembered is irrelevant.”

– Russell Ackoff in The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching

What is the purpose of industrial education? To fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence? Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States and that is its aim everywhere else.

– H. L. Mencken

“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”

– John Holt

“The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.”

― Ken Robinson

I don't know if any of the above quotes were taken from men who loved the Lord. But all four spoke a truth about education.

We work towards individual mastery in each subject we teach at Maricopa Christian Academy. And after mastery is achieved for a skill, we review that skill over time to maintain it. The student's practice is spaced out over time in gradually greater instructional increments.

Here is what noted cognitive psychologist Daniel T Willingham has to say about this ptractice. "Such practice yields three benefits:(1) it can help the mental process become automatic and therby enable further learning; (2) it makes memory long lasting; and (3) it increase the likelihood that learning will transfer to new situations."

Our curriculum reflects this instructional choice. Both Saxon and Horizon math use a strong spiral method of teach and review. Easy Grammar, used in the third through sixth grades, uses a spiral approach to grammar.

The Pathway readers used to build reading vocabulary and comprehension introduce words in small groups and then uses past introduced words in their stories.

Our students our motivated to learn, usually. Each day each student is responsible for meeting his own goals. He does not have to move with the class goal. No more being taught what you already understand. Gone is the idea of moving on to the next goal before mastering the previous goal.

Rarely is lecture used as an instructional method. Most of the time the student meets with the teacher for 1-3 minutes at a time for instruction, correction, questions and help. The instructional time is in such short increments because each student is building on previous mastery. Usually students from the more traditional educational model have not had a complete backround of necessary knowledge to allow easier learning for tne next step.

At Maricopa Christian Academy, we have transformed the educational model to something that is personal and active. We build on previous achievenment at each student's level to allow for their individual strengths to shine without ignoring weaknesses.

Maricopa Christian Academy is an untypical school. Not to be different, but to meet the individual educational needs of our students.

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