Extraordinary Instructional Methods
Central to Marburn Academy's goal to provide the finest schooling for students with learning differences is our philosophy of employing instructional designs which are neurologically matched to the learning needs of our students. Our commitment to this effort has resulted in a substantial list of more effective teaching methods for those with learning differences in Central Ohio.
Recent research from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development indicates that approximately twenty percent (1 in 5) of all students have a neurological difference in the brain which affects their ability to learn the phonological structure of our written language. With conventional instruction, these students will fail to master the skills of reading, writing, and spelling no matter how hard they or their teachers try. To learn these skills, they require teaching which provides carefully sequenced, systematic, multi-sensory instruction followed by intensive practice of each detail of the sound/symbol system of the language.
Developed over the past fifty years by specialists working with dyslexics, the Orton-Gillingham approach to language instruction provides exactly these features. Marburn Academy is one of only ten schools in the United States to have its Orton-Gillingham instruction program accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators.
Key elements of this approach are incorporated throughout Marburn Academy’s language curriculum, and individual Orton-Gillingham tutorials are available through the school year and in the summer program. Marburn Academy also provides accredited Orton-Gillingham training programs for professionals.
The Marburn Academy Mathematics Program
Students who struggle to learn math when it is taught with abstract and/or auditory methods require instruction that features a multisensory, experiential system for teaching numerical concepts, math skills, and quantitative reasoning. With the Marburn Academy Mathematics Program, concepts are introduced visually and experientially and then explored in a verbally rich, language-intensive atmosphere. At each level problem solving skills are emphasized, skill-related exercises are introduced, and the ultimate goal is for students to understand concepts as they are applied in the real world. Connected Math™ and Bridges to Mathematics™ are the primary curricular materials used. Other tools such as Semple Math™ and TouchMath™ can be used when appropriate.
Making Meaning™ Reading Comprehension Program
As reading is taking place, a good reader engages in a running dialog with the text, constantly interpreting, questioning, evaluating, and connecting ideas. A good reader recognizes when the text stops making sense and employs strategies to figure out where the “disconnect” occurred. This metacognitive process allows a good reader to create meaning, form opinions, and develop true understanding. While some children learn these habits of thinking intuitively, the many who do not need direct, sequential, and systematic instruction to learn how to monitor comprehension and to employ specific strategies for understanding.
The Making Meaning™ curriculum features engaging, high quality juvenile fiction and nonfiction read-aloud books to explicitly teach comprehension strategies. Teachers model the strategies through use of “Think Alouds”, then direct the students in guided practice. Students then practice the strategies in individualized daily reading.
By bridging the gap between the physical act of reading and the goal of understanding we can offer our students more than great literature and access to the great ideas of human history. By teaching our students to think, we offer them the keys to their own minds.
Using our Writing Small curriculum, students learn to master elements of writing such as fluency, word choice, unity, and a sense of audience through repeated practice with short poetic forms and concise expository pieces. Each concept (including traditional grammar concepts and paragraph structures) is taught directly and modeled to the class through group lessons. Students then apply the concepts to quick writing assignments that are structured so that the students may focus on the target concept and quickly bring the piece through he stages of drafting, revision, editing, and publishing. Students share their work with their peers and learn to offer specific supportive feedback as well as how to make revisions based on audience comments. Once a concept is mastered the students are expected to integrate use of that skill in future writing assignments across the curriculum.
Visualizing and Verbalizing™ (V&V™) Reading Comprehension
Developed by Nanci Bell of the Lindamood/Bell Learning Services, V&V™ provides a specific and highly effective remedy for persistent reading comprehension problems for students who have good decoding skills. Students learn to convert written language into mental images and then transform the images back into expressive language.
The “gestalt” of this cycle enables the brain to process the details as a whole, providing the support needed for full understanding and long term recall.
All-at-Once Language and Math
Language and math remediation classes are scheduled for all Marburn Academy students during the same periods each day to achieve two goals: (a) to allow instructional groups to be as homogenous as possible in terms of student needs, and (b) to assure that schedule conflicts cannot interfere with the placement of any student in an appropriate level of developmental or remedial language or math instruction. Students are cross-age grouped according to their language remediation or math remediation needs.
"What Marburn does for a child's self-esteem is priceless!" ~ Comment from Marburn Academy Parent Survey
The self-awareness program is designed to assist students in becoming proactive self-advocates and effective self-managers as they learn to solve the problems caused by their learning differences. The sequence of classes begins by building knowledge of the neural basis for learning differences. Students then assess their own patterns of strengths and difficulties and set goals for improvement. With the teacher’s guidance, they decide on strategies for achieving goals, implement specific plans, and monitor outcomes. This process empowers students to take charge of their lives and builds the healthy self-knowledge and self-acceptance necessary for future success.
Individualized Remediation Plans
As a non-public school, Marburn Academy is not bound by and does not implement Individual Education Plans (IEPs) produced under state or federal laws governing public education. However, a detailed Individual Remediation Plan (IRP), outlining specific goals and objectives, is developed for each of our students by Marburn Academy teachers.
Purpose of the High School Program
Acquiring skill in reading, writing, and computation is only the first step toward school success. Learning to apply those skills effectively and independently when studying for traditional content classes is the next step, and many students encounter serious difficulty at this point
The purpose of Marburn Academy's High School Program is to provide such students with the specialized instruction and supervised practice they need to become independent in applying their skills successfully in traditional high school classes. The program will enroll students with grade level sub-skill scores in reading, writing, and math who are ready to focus on developing effective study and organizational skills.
The goal of the High School Program is to prepare students for a successful transition to the academic demands of college.
Instructional Highlights Include:
- note taking
- preparing for tests
- memorization techniques
- test taking skills
- time management
- writing research papers
~ Comment from Marburn Academy Parent Survey, 2004
- Positive Learning Environment
Teachers who truly understand and who are passionate about teaching students with learning differences create a uniquely supportive, success-oriented learning environment in which goals are individualized and reinforcement is plentiful.
- Outdoor Adventure/Athletics
The Voyageurs Outdoor Adventure program stimulates personal growth and builds confidence and leadership skills through mastery of exciting physical challenges. Students have the opportunity to participate regularly in activities such as day hiking, backpacking trips, high ropes, horseback riding, white water rafting, canoe trips, rock climbing, and skiing. Intramural and interscholastic athletics help students develop teamwork skills.
- Social Opportunities
A rich variety of extra-curricular and social opportunities are necessary to build confidence and self-esteem. Marburn Academy's Student Activities Council gives students the opportunity to plan activities that build stronger social relationships.
This program is designed to assist students in becoming proactive self-advocates and effective self-managers as they learn to solve problems caused by their learning differences. The classes begin by building knowledge of the neural basis for learning differences. Students then assess their own patterns of strengths and difficulties and set goals for improvement. Under the advisor's guidance, students decide on strategies for achieving goals, implement specific plans, and monitor outcomes. This process empowers students to take charge of their lives and build the healthy self-knowledge and self-acceptance necessary for future success.
For additional information, please e-mail us.