I recently shared AKOM’s Research Base of the Schools Attuned Porgram, www.allkindsofminds.org/Research/Index.aspx, with colleagues. Several teachers asked for this information following our school wide Schools Attuned work. While we work exclusively with college bound students who have learning differences, prior to learning the neurodevelopmental constructs, our teachers possessed many varied understandings of the learning differences. These different interpretations were the cause of varied perceptions. A year following the program, evidence of our common understanding was abundant. Classroom teachers were more confident in working with struggling students. Instructional planning was more learner centered and student engagement increased. The research base includes studies that demonstrate these changes. We are presently using the research base to inform further implementation. I review educational research regularly and I was excited to learn that AKOM has a research team who actively studies advances in educational, psychological, medical and clinical research. This is translated into the further development of the program. The content of Schools Attuned has many authors from the field of learning. Our students benefit from this daily.
3 thoughts on “Sharing AKOM’s Research Base”
I just recently picked up a book by author and educator Jenifer Fox. The book is called Your Child’s Strengths. She makes a good number of points about getting to the strengths in children early-on. Perhaps you could comment on this subject?
Strengthening strengths early on certainly makes sense, but if that has not happened, it is never too late. Our students are high schoolers, all with learning differences. Many were identified late and experienced a lot of failure. At our school we provide many diverse opportunities for students to identify and grow their strengths. So much in their lives has been focused on what isn’t working well and what they need to work on – the opportunity to express themselves in areas of affinity can be so powerful. Within the Schools Attuned work, students are often relieved to find that they have more strengths than they realized. Beyond classroom learning and capitalizing on those strengths, students express themselves in sports, Model UN, ceramics, band, culinary club, community service and through student leadership positions, to name a few. Some of our students recently returned from a Tropical Ecology research trip in the Costa Rican rainforest where they carried out research that informs the importance of protecting the rainforest while offering sustainable income options to the local people. Other students returned from Model U.N. and reported out their experiences to our whole community. I think we need to provide lots of opportunities to these kids, all ages, and we also need to celebrate those strengths and successes publicly. By emphasizing the importance of thinking differently, instead of the problems of thinking differently, we can grow our students toward successful participation in the world.
Thank you for these insights; they are well put. I recently picked up Jenifer Fox’s book as well and was pleased to see her synthesis of the “strengths movement.”