“If students do what they have always done, they will remain what they have become.”
Students who under-perform in standard textbooks and classroom settings need and desire access to core subject academic material packaged at variance to status quo textbooks. Moreover, studies show that under-performing students who engage PAC immediately and are allowed to advance as rapidly as desired or as slowly as needed are more likely to recover from past failures.
Many under-performing/at-risk students who enroll in Paradigm Accelerated School initially stay focused on academics less than six minutes before they become distracted. However, within just a few days after being prescribed in PAC, students expand time-on-task to significantly longer periods (up to two hours) before “coming up for air.” Students are “enticed” to remain riveted on PAC lessons. What makes the difference? The design and content of PAC, lessons and individualized system enhance concentration.
PAC addresses right and left brain functions simultaneously. Many youth assigned to our laboratory school seem to be right brain dominant. They like to draw, write poetry, dance, sing or express thoughts dramatically. Consequently, many respond to academics and classroom activities more from an emotional and visual incentive basis rather than from a logical basis. Under-performing right brain dominant students seem to require more visual and/or auditory stimulation than do left brain dominant students. That is why PAC introduces every lesson with theme art that provides a visual concept of academic material described with words in the text.
As students read (left brain function), the right brain visual component captures the concept from the theme art and holds the student’s attention through peripheral vision and mental imagery while the left brain hemisphere processes the text (words, sentences, paragraphs). Thus, PAC pages engage both hemispheres of the brain, thereby keeping the student focused on comprehension. Engagement can be further enhanced through “Dr. Johnson’s Talking Textbooks” which read aloud to students while simultaneously highlighting the text on the computer screen. Difficult words may be pronounced and defined on demand in either English, Spanish, German, Dutch, French or Italian.
PAC incorporates enticement techniques used by merchants who cater to youth markets. The most common marketing image used to arrest attention from youth is the image of a pretty female or handsome male. Thus, PAC strategically places attractive, wholesome faces near key grammar, composition and math rules which the student must learn in order to pass academic assessment exams. This form of image-associated, subliminal prompting assists students in short and long term memory recall.
Accelerated learning is enhanced with curriculum that is systemic in structure. PAC structures every lesson (with companion activity exercises) in a sequential order. Page design is standardized for all PAC courses. Pages are uncluttered and uniform. Thus, students know exactly what procedure to follow in every PAC course. Students are guided in a structured manner as they work individually, or in classroom studies, through the lessons. This organized, simplified structure allows students to work confidently with focus and minimum dependence on school staff. Students know exactly how to respond to activity questions, quizzes or tests. This format enables the teacher to assign academic work (individual education plans) to each student with assurance that the student knows what, when, how and where to complete academic assignments. Students, thus, are “released” to accelerate learning. The PAC design also allows the student to predict (calculate/project) exactly how and when each lesson, section, chapter and course can be completed for transcript credit. This “I know what to do” component builds confidence and hope. It keeps graduation in sight.
Students perform better on tests when the question format is familiar to students. PAC activity exercises, quizzes and tests include questions and problems patterned like those which appear on state academic assessment exams (NCLB criteria). Students not only learn essential knowledge and skills while completing core content subjects, students also gain confidence to pass academic assessment exams. Students are consistently exposed to assessment-type questions while completing PAC lessons. Thus, students gain confidence that they can pass mandatory state assessment exams. Students become so accustomed to seeing assessment-type questions in PAC that actual assessment questions are familiar and less-threatening.
PAC teaches math, writing and composition skills through the tried and proven techniques of Greek, Hebrew and Eskimo cultures which start with a completed project (equation, art, or principle) and work backwards to inception of the initial assignment. Students see the whole (composition, paragraph, math equation), then work backwards step-by-step from known (familiar) to unknown (unfamiliar). This process builds confidence, knowledge, and skills incrementally, laying a strong foundation for cognitive application of math and composition skills, and analysis of literature and equations. Please refer to the PAC Curriculum Sampler for examples of these research-based components.
That is why Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum (PAC) includes a positive life principle in every lesson – to build high character!
“Aligned to academic standards” means well, but in fact means only that the listed essential academic element or skill has been addressed at least once either in the student text, teacher text, student workbook or classroom resource kit. “Textbook alignment to state academic standards” is no assurance that students will master content which will be assessed on state exams.
Ronald E. Johnson, Ph.D.
Texas Textbook Selection Panel
Texas TASS to TAKS transition panel
“Research shows that 80% of classroom activities are below grade level, and that children retain only a fraction of lesson content after 48 hours.”
Linda Villareal, Ph.D.
Texas School Superintendent
and research analyst
That is why Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum uses the Greek, Hebrew and Eskimo approaches to address essential academic knowledge and skills in daily lessons and aligns those essentials throughout lessons, study activities, quizzes and exams. Moreover, PAC exposes the student to essential content multiple times to enhance retention. PAC’s activities, quizzes and tests are structured to prepare students for the types of questions and problems which will be encountered on state assessments.