This blog is going to be so boring if you just want your child to attend New Park Street Christian Academy and have the thought that as long as he/she is learning and the learning method is not dangerous, you don't really care to hear about our methods. But if you want to know how we teach and why I think our methods are so effective, then please read on. You might even find it exciting.
Some form of the Ihms instructional method has been used for over twenty-five years in schools, public and private. The Ihms method continues to be used by many former teachers from my previous schools who continue teaching. Once you have used the Ihms method to teach or you have had the method used to teach you, it can be difficult to return to teaching or learning in a traditional method.
Here are the key components of the method.
- All students are able to learn meaningful skills important for them.
- It is the teacher's lack of skills or knowledge, not the student's, if learning does not occur, as a general rule.
- A good teacher/student/parent instructional relationship supports learning.
- Each student has a unique instructional path to learning new skills.
- A great teacher believes in his/her students.
Here are some general rules of what I believe is harmful in instruction.
- Group instruction in general is ineffective for learning.
- Auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning are ineffective and not supported by independent research.
- Computer learning is as ineffective as group instruction.
The Ihms method begins teaching from where the student is comfortable learning. And this starting point is unique for each student. I know that every student at New Park Street Christian Academy has different educational and life experiences. It would be wrong on my part as the instructor to ignore this fact.
That is why every student attending New Park Street Christian Academy is given a series of placement tests. This information provides me data to begin the students at a place in their studies where they are comfortable.
For example, in a writing assignment, because of each student's different writing skills, one student may begin working on a friendly letter by writing one sentence at a time while another student may be writing his friendly letter a paragraph at a time. Both students are working on the same goal, writing a friendly letter to be sent out. Both students are working towards meeting the goal through different paths.
This is true for the instruction in math, writing, grammar, literature, geography, and keyboarding. Bible is a group activity and science is working in pairs or small groups.
The learning at different paths of instruction for each student is based on the previous days work that usually the student has mastered. The next days instruction and learning goals are based on the student's successes. If the learning was not successful from the previous lesson, I will take the time to help the student understand the goal the goal the next day before moving on.
The instructional time in the classroom is student centered, not teacher centered, at New Park Street Christian Academy. Each assignment is an opportunity for the student to prove to the teacher the concept is understood and/or mastered. The assignments, tests, and teacher questions are designed for the student to prove his skills.
A teacher centered instructional time is where the teacher tries to prove to the student the information to learn. The teacher centered instruction begins where the group left off the day before, whether all or any had a good understanding or even a mastery of the skill in order to progress to the next step.
Assignments for the new students to New Park Street Christian Academy are at times varied. Experienced students at the academy develop over time a consistent work ethic that most new students do not have.
For over twenty-five years, students using the Ihms method of instruction develop a work ethic that brings consistent success in their studies.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.
This school has been over 40 years in the making. That is how long I have been instructing birth through adult, regular education and special education, at a mental institution and homeschools, public and private schools, and as a teacher and an administrator.
Through the lessons learned through my mistakes and successes I have experienced over the forty plus years, I begin New Park Street Christian Academy. The online part of the school is unique, but the rest of the teaching methods and curriculum have been successfully used and will be used successfully again in meeting the school's mission of supporting Christian parents in the training of their children through providing an individualized instruction built on the individual skills of each student.
The instructional method used at New Park Street Christian Academy has been described in many ways, but my favorite is when my methods are compared to a very organized home school. Fifteen students of varying skills and ages all working on material challenging for each individual based on the previous days work, all the time in front a live teacher teaching, correcting and encouraging them as they move through their skills, progressing individually.
Imagine a class of students working at their own skill level. When their assignment is complete, the student presents it to his teacher for immediate correction, reteaching, and/or encouagement, and his next assignment. Students learn to wait for their turn if necessary.
I don't need to label any of the students educationally. Labels do not change my appoach to how I instruct a student or the materials used. What changes my instruction and materials used is the student's skills and confidence. Educational labels are for getting funding or for poorly trained teachers to give excuses for a child's lack of learning.
The school is begun with the humility and hope of knowing its success depends on the mercy of my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
The oviding an individualized education built on each student's individual skills.
I am Tim Ihms, the founder, head master, instructor, book keeper, and part time custodian at New Park Street Christian Academy. The blogs on this page are written for the parents of New Park Street students and for those who may be interested in sending their child to the school some day.