New York Academy’s Approach

Traditional Factory Age Approach to Learning
Conceptual, Networked Age Approach to Learning

Brian kissmanI had the pleasure of reading a piece that did a compare and contrast analysis of ‘old vs. new’ approaches to education. Make no mistake, we know more than ever before what works best in education. New York Academy is a school that delivers on research-evidence best practice. Our learning program is one that embraces a ‘Conceptual, Networked Age Approach to Learning!

Compare and contrast the following:

The traditional educational paradigm is a “factory” model. Teachers are given an age-group cohort of children at the beginning of each school year, a scripted curriculum, and a matching set of tests to measure learning. Despite teachers’ best efforts to individualize, because of the structure of this system, opportunities to tailor the content, pace, and method of instruction are limited. Students are expected to work with their assigned material and move along with their age cohort as the years pass. Grading and other assessment tools are designed primarily to assess facts based results of learning, rather than to improve learning as it happens. It is all about ‘passing the test.”

Many students are ushered on despite an insufficient and limited understanding of the content and inadequate maturation, leaving them with serious gaps in their ability to learn at the next level, which results in low self-esteem. Others, who’s pace in certain areas exceed that of their peers, are openly denied the opportunity to explore beyond the grade’s standardized curriculum.

We believe that this system’s one-to-many approach to teaching, standardized curriculum, age-based cohorts, and classroom-contained instruction are all limitations on our children’s opportunities to learn and thrive in this changing world. Too often these system components leave teachers exhausted, parents frustrated, and children uninspired.

This learner-centered paradigm changes our very view of learners themselves. It is founded on the premise that all students can learn. Learners’ are seen and known as wondrous, curious individuals with vast capabilities and limitless potential. This paradigm recognizes that learning is a lifelong pursuit and that our natural excitement and eagerness to discover and learn should be fostered throughout our lives, particularly in our earliest years.

Thus, in this paradigm, learners are active participants in their learning as they gradually become owners of it, and learning itself is seen as an engaging and exciting process. Each child’s interests, passions, skills, and needs shape his or her learning experience and drive the commitments and actions of the adults and communities supporting him or her.

This approach to learning is explicit and intentional to focus on learning through three primary domains:

A deep understanding of someone or something.

The capacities that enable learners to apply knowledge to novel situations, engage in higher order thinking, problem solve, collaborate, communicate, and plan for the future.

The behaviors and ways of being that contribute to learners fulfilling their full potential.

More and more schools are moving to this Conceptual, Networked Age Approach to Learning, which is being implemented by the best schools around the world.

New York Academy is committed to this approach.

Traditional Factory Age Approach Conceptual, Networked Age Approach
  • Education factories called schools
  • Access to knowledge and learning is through the teacher
  • Standardized age cohorts(grade level classes)
  • Linear curriculum – strictly divided into subjects
  • Learning experiences designed to impart knowledge in long-established categories (subjects)
  • Stand and deliver lectures for ‘one-size’ fits all classes
  • Measures of learning: tests, grades, percentages, certificates, diplomas
  • Schools that are open, supporting self-directed and self-regulated learning
  • Direct access to knowledge and learning, facilitated by the teacher
  • Collaboration with stable and supportive relationships; mixed age-group classes
  • Individualized and personalized learning for all students meeting their academic, social, emotional, and physical needs for growth
  • Growth mindset for lifelong learning
  • Relevant/contextualized learning experiences
  • Measures of learning: reading logs, writing portfolio (personal narratives, short stories, essays, reports), videos of collaboration and the Traits of Conversation, videos of presentations, projects, innovations and inventions

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