Each program at Proctor exists for a reason. Our unique academic model did not develop by chance, but rather through the vision and commitment of those who came before us at this small boarding school in central New Hampshire. In its infancy, Proctor’s Learning Skills program became one of the first formal academic support program for dyslexic students in the country. Over the past seventy years, Learning Skills has developed into an integrated academic support program unlike any other.
As Learning Skills specialists work with students in a 2:1 tutorial during a regular class block each academic day, they teach study skills and strategies that empower students to ‘own’ their learning. Students learn to actively read, how to approach an upcoming test, and how to manage their time. These are skills that provide a foundation for academic success in each student, however, it is Proctor’s institutional understanding of the need for each student to feel safe in his or her own learning that makes the biggest difference on students lives.
We know well the willingness to be vulnerable impacts a student’s willingness to take risks in the classroom. Learning Skills specialist, Lori Patriacca ‘01, shared tremendous insight into her students’ journeys at Proctor, “For many students at Proctor, they are being seen for the first time in their lives for who they really are. And they are not just ‘being seen’, but are being loved, appreciated, and embraced for who they are. This fuels student learning.”
Each student is on his or her unique academic journey. Our role is to support that journey by creating an intentional community that values diversity of learning style, not just in Learning Skills, but throughout every classroom. This type of culture is not created overnight, but rather is built over time through shared experiences and a school-wide understanding that the diversity of learning styles present enhances the learning experience of all students.
The videos in this blog show how Learning Skills makes a difference in our students’ lives. What they do not show, however, is the impact each of these students has on us as teachers. Learning Skills provides an opportunity to both shape student lives as well as have our lives transformed by our students. This is why Learning Skills makes a difference.