Chris Hanson, C’17
Teaching Students How To Learn
Learning How To Learn
What students need most of all is to learn how to learn.
This bedrock skill is what Eager Academy teaches, by helping students break big tasks into small, manageable ones; set achievable goals; practice personal accountability; and enjoy rewards for good behavior.
Eager Academy integrates with a school’s learning management systems and provides separate views for students, teachers, parents, and administrators.
- Students set goals for themselves based on their own needs, such as handing in homework assignments every day, arriving at school punctually, or improving their math skills. Eager Academy helps them break these goals into daily tasks, and set a sliding degree of difficulty.
- Teachers and parents follow the goals and tasks that students set themselves, and watch out for both failure and success. They can offer rewards after major successes—or occasionally after small ones—in order to positively reinforce good behavior.
- Administrators get higher performing students, plus great data about their students, teachers, and curriculums, which helps them make more informed decisions.
The rewards system is crucial: teachers and parents can give rewards based on students achieving a long term goal, but Eager Academy also prompts small rewards given at random to students who are succeeding regularly, or shortly after a student has briefly failed, and then succeeded—for example, forgetting to hand in an assignment and then handing it in the next day. This teaches students that failure can be temporary—as long as they keep trying.
Most of all, Eager Academy gives students agency over their own success, and therefore the confidence and skills to succeed again and again: they truly are learning how to learn.
Looking To The Future
Eager Academy is already helping students. In summer 2017, it’s in a digital school, two after school programs, and multiple summer schools in the Philadelphia area. Founder Chris Hansen is in talks with additional schools for the fall.