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Outline: This blog post outlines the methods used to improve student performance and success. We will explain each of the eight pillars that are outlined in the infographic online. Each factor will explore how RICOS goes beyond conventional education to enhance the learning process for students.

Key words: Student Success; Learning Outcomes; Classroom Performance; Education Technology; Factors for Success

Author: Anastasia Moskvitina

8 Factors to Boost Your Child’s Learning Performance

What is the measure of a student’s success in a classroom? A well-rounded approach includes many factors that go beyond boosting grades. While we have a proven track record of increasing grade averages and successfully admitting our students to top universities, there are some other measures that are important to our method. The goal is to give our students an educational experience that will prepare them for the future in school and in life. Success in post-secondary school often depends on a combination of academic skills, decision-making abilities and stress management techniques. Learning to balance academic life can be a learning curve for many students as they enter the independent-learning years ahead of them. Choosing the right opportunities for social involvement comes with having the proper training in elementary and high school. Our programs will give your child the best possible outcome of peer to peer relationships, problem solving skills and of course, academic success that will lead to a bright future. In this changing environment everyone is looking for the right solution to their children’s education. We have identified eight core factors to boost learning performance and enhance the traditional school experience and we are proud to share them with you:

1- Small Classes

In Ontario, the average public school class size is 22 students, a number that has been growing over the past several years. Some high schools have as many as 40+ students in each class, which is clearly not a good part of the learning environment. The advantages of small class sizes offered at RICOS are a very important factor to consider in your child’s education. First and foremost, we can offer more one-on-one attention for each student and get to know your child on a personal level. Smaller classes also allow our teachers to develop comprehensive lesson plans that are tailored to the individual needs of our students. We know that each student has their own level of learning ability, and instead of teaching to the lower-middle skillset of the class like large classrooms are forced to do, we can make sure each student is engaged at their own level. This also gives us more time to review each student’s work when marking assignments. Another benefit is the decreased time for administrative work, including taking attendance, handing out assignments or simply passing out materials. Every student in a small class has much more opportunity to ask questions and get meaningful answers, working in a quieter classroom under good supervision. Importantly for your child, the smaller classroom leads to making better friends with their peers! Our graduates building life-long friendships in the small classes we are able to offer.

2- Experienced Teachers

Throughout a teacher’s career, experience in the classroom is directly related to students’ achievements. Our teachers do not simply have a Teacher’s College degree (although this is very important), they are also subject matter experts in their field of instruction. Statistically teachers improve dramatically during their first two years on the job, and research shows teachers are more effective in the same grade level, subject and school. Our teachers are seasoned educators who all bring many years of experience to their classes. When it comes to STEM learning, conveying information in a way that will absorb in your child’s mind can be especially challenging at times. Our teachers bring real-life experience to the classroom, with the ability to clearly and concisely explain complicated material to young minds. Relying on inexperienced teachers in order to save costs leads to many problems for your child’s learning. This can cause rapid teacher turnover which is disruptive to schools and negatively impacts students’ learning. Our teacher retention and working conditions are very important to us. Teachers must have the tools in place to be successful before they can get to work on their students’ success. The result is polished classroom management skills, improved student attendance and an overall better environment for your child. The benefits of experienced teachers goes above and beyond good test scores – students are more likely to be interested and engaged while learning from a practical expert in their subject.

3- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Having the skills necessary to find solutions to problems is one of the most important skills your child can learn. When challenges arise in our academic, professional and personal lives, the way we cope and react is a skill that develops early in life and stays with us as the years go by. We teach our students to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Our goal is effectively prepare your child for independent learning in university and beyond in their professional careers. Employers favor employees who can think on their feet and assess problems in a timely manner. Our methods prepare your child to think critically and creatively, share knowledge and opinions and use good judgement to make decisions. We achieve this through feedback in the form of criticism and praise and careful attention to each child’s creative needs. Some students tend to think more pragmatically while others lean on using their imagination. The right combination of both of these methods ultimately creates successful analytical problem solving skills. Good critical thinking also requires a sound understanding of appropriate values and standards of behaviour required to make ethical decisions. With the discipline and skills to problem solve in all areas of learning, we can see our students’ grades improve and solve dilemmas for positive, constructive outcomes beyond the classroom.

4- Safe Social Bullying (Bullying Awareness)

Sadly, bullying is a problem that continues to grow amongst children of all age groups. Bullying can take place anywhere- in person, over the phone, online and other channels. About one-quarter of high school and elementary students report being bullied, and this number increases to almost half of college and university students. As educators we play an important role in bullying awareness, education and prevention. We recognize that as students get older they are less and less likely to come to their teachers for help with issues with other students. This is why strong student-teacher relationships are especially important. Students learn best when they are in a safe, comfortable environment and on good terms with their peers. We believe that children who engage in bullying lack attention and direction from the role models in their lives. It is our focused responsibility to bring any misconduct to the surface – to identify victims of bullying and give them the tools to handle the situation until it can be prevented. We also work to prevent children from engaging in bullying others. As children develop they may face issues with physical and verbal aggression, or may be mimicking a behaviour that they think is “cool”. Whatever the reason may be, our students are taught to never do or say things that could hurt, embarrass or harass another student. We will continue to closely monitor our students on an individual basis to identify any behaviours that may need to be addressed.

5- Stress Relief Environment

The negative impact of stress and anxiety has been linked to lower brain function and decreased motivation. There is a strong need for teachers to understand how students are feeling and how the classroom environment is affecting each child. The classroom should be a safe space where successful academic strategies reduce stress and create a positive, open environment. At RICOS we consistently look for new ways to maintain a stress-free style of learning. We allow our students to take breaks on a regular basis while maintaining effective time management skills. Our teachers get to know your child on an individual level and keep open communication and open-door policies for every student. We teach students to be aware of their own mindset, to realize when they are stressing out, and to cope with stress and anxiety in positive ways. This includes positive reinforcement and continual feedback, with smooth transitions in curriculum materials and ample time to adjust. There is a focus on allowing time to work in small groups to eliminate the stress of constantly participating in big class discussions. In our comprehensive approach to making students comfortable and relaxed, we also emphasize basic life skills that can go a very long way – get enough sleep, stay hydrated, exercise regularly and maintain a strong network of support and school and at home.

6- Success Coaching

The ultimate goal of the education program at RICOS is to prepare your child for a university setting and make it possible to attend the post-secondary institution of their choice. We believe that all students are capable of becoming successful learners, even if they have had struggles in past. Students who receive regular success coaching are more confident, resilient and calm when it comes to achieving their aspirations. We want our students to rise to the challenge in difficult situations and take actions instead of giving up hope. It is important for students to understand how to manage changing situations, organize their time, and meet deadlines without becoming overwhelmed. We offer workshops on planning your post-secondary education based on long term career goals. By doing so we create an agenda for success that outlines the purpose behind each action our students take. The coaching approach develops important project-based learning strategies generating valuable questions that students must discover on their own. Success coaching teaches accountability and responsibility for making decisions. Creating these skills early on in your child’s life builds a strong foundation for success in all future endeavours. We teach the importance of setting goals, establishing priorities, and connecting with the right resources for overall better performance. Our coaching program incorporates valuable mentorship from our teachers to guide your child in the right direction

7- Hybrid Method of Education

The purpose of hybrid education is to take advantage of all the modern tools available for learning. Traditional “seat time” can be blended with online learning activities and group work so that students can take advantage of all best features of these educational methods. The goal is to integrate face-to-face instruction with independent online activities to reinforce concepts instead of using the online platform to simply replace the classroom. While the students will continue to see their teachers face-to-face online for the school day, there is also the opportunity to post class materials in online forums for discussion. The hybrid method is a program built to meet the needs of an ever-changing educational landscape, but it must be executed correctly. Hybrid learning uses a multifaceted, self-directed model that adds competency and accountability to traditional education. Our new generation of learners is able to take advantage of tools that parents did not have growing up. We find that the majority of students prefer to learn in this innovative way, and the result is successful learning outcomes.

8- Teaching Tolerance

It is an invaluable skill for a teacher to reduce prejudice and build empathy among students in a classroom. As children grow up they may not understand what it means to be tolerant to others in topics such as diversity, discrimination, disability and more. At RICOS we are focused on educating your child on appropriate social justice standards and codes of conduct. We believe in building literacy and emotional skills while exploring different topics and text. We proactively overcome bias and intolerance by instilling values of kindness, understanding and respect for people from all different walks of life. If our students have questions or concerns about tolerance in the classroom we will always address them and make sure they understand what it means to get along with others regardless of differences. Social emotional learning is an important topic for a good foundation in learning. Our curriculum motivates students to research and explore different cultural and socio-economic demographics and identify the unique qualities of different communities. We also accommodate all religious customs and days of observation as well as holidays. Our tolerance polices are also tailored by age groups, as we understand some subjects are not suitable for younger grades. Overall, teaching tolerance and respect for others prevents bullying, improves the classroom environment, and adds to the valuable life skills we want our students to take with them when they graduate.

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