Giving Teens The Advantage
The decline of the ability of the American educational system to effectively educate American youth has been noted to effectively educate American youth has been noted and anguished over for decades. Many students pass through the system without having had the opportunity to reach their potential. A few of them realize that the educational system has let them down; most are plagued by a sense of personal inadequacy.
Learning to Learn
For the past 25 years, I’ve been on a mission to turn round that dark side of learning. I show students how to get into the top schools like Berkeley and Stanford. I’ve cracked the code for the SAT and ACT, and regularly help kids get into the top ten percentile. In particular, I’m showing students how to get better grades by learning to learn. Many students fail because they find themselves caught between teachers, parents, and extracurricular activities. Most classroom learning provides no training or direction in assisting students to integrate the pieces of the things they are learning with the lives they are living. I’m attacking the problem at its roots–equipping students to integrate learning into their lives.
I frequently see dramatic turnarounds. For example, I recently helped a student to complete an entire second semester of Algebra. After failing his high school course, he ended up scoring a final of 96% after only eight days of studying with me. The remarkable achievement came, in part, because I created a space in which it was safe for the student to ask questions so that he could thoroughly master the material instead of pretending a comprehension he didn’t actually possess.
While teachers and administrators give so much energy and attention to teaching teens, they are often limited by lack of funding and resources with the result that personalized attention to each individual’s need is sacrificed in the interest of moving the class forward. Some students fail to develop the ability to identify what they don’t understand. When you confidently know what you don’t know, you can figure out how to learn it. As philosophy professor, George Boas, observed, “Education is learning what you didn’t know you didn’t know.
Conventional wisdom leads to the belief that learning is over when information has been delivered and the lecture is ended. But I’ve found that the process is not simply about acquiring masses of information because life is more like Google than it is like the Encyclopedia Britannica. Nothing is laid out neatly for our convenience, but people who can comfortably identify what they don’t know but know how to find that information—and how to integrate it into knowledge they already possess—can learn anything. There’s nothing such a person can’t learn.
I’m on a personal mission to assist teenagers on their life journeys by developing their internal and external resources and qualities. On the internal level, I’m helping them extend their sense of who they are by assisting them in achieving greater levels of success in their academic studies, professional careers, and in their sense of personal fulfillment. In the external level, they’re developing skills to manage themselves independently, to become self-propelling human beings, and to have resources that will assist in changing society and making the world a better place.
I believe students really need to learn how to learn. The acquisition of any specific information isn’t as important as the skills needed to self-motivate, self-manage, feed one’s curiosity, and continue to learn. Teens who develop these long term skills are the ones who get better grades, enjoy a greater level of focus, passion, and drive—and ultimately achieve greater success in school and in life.
I also work with parents by assisting them in becoming effective resources for their children’s development. Over the past 25 years, I’ve worked with more than 8,000 families in promoting their children’s academic success. For example, part of my training is to help students plan their own schedules so parents don’t have to keep nagging them – an activity that becomes increasingly less effective and tiresome as the child grows older.
Some parents simply try too hard to force their children to succeed. I show such parents that by doing less they can sometimes help their children accomplish more. Over-involved parents need to step back and give students enough space so they can achieve success on their own. On the other hand, I also help under-involved parents become engaged at an appropriate level in their children’s learning. I also assist parents in successfully navigating the school system to achieve the best results for their kids.
My Own Learning
My parents were both teachers and raised me in an environment that valued education and intellectual life; they taught me the importance of community, and that is up to each individual to try to make a positive impact upon the world.
My folks met and married while members of the Peace Corps teaching in Nigeria back in the early 1960’s. Both has a passion for history, teaching, community, and helping others. Throughout my childhood, my mom was editor for a San Francisco neighborhood newsletter, called “Miraloma Life,” that my friends and I delivered by hand to 10,000 people for many years. The newsletter included community activities and resources—listing my brother, my sister, and me for babysitting services. My parents continually involved me in community activities—from recycling to Boy Scouts. They have inspired me throughout my life with their ethic of changing the world through education, often through community action, but also often one person at a time.
Following graduation, I spent a year in Europe teaching English in Spain and Germany. When I returned to California I spent two years in Richmond schools teaching junior high one year and high school the next. These inner city schools provided personal challenges, but I discovered that I really love teaching and having a positive influence in students’ lives.
I eventually completed two Bachelors’ degrees, from U.C. Berkeley and the University of Oregon, in English and General Services with minors in Chemistry, Biology, Spanish, and Film. I also earned a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan, where I taught undergraduate classes.
While attending school in Oregon I taught in a local community college, at a major SAT test prep center, and at a multiple subjects tutoring center. The experiences developed my awareness that tutoring was what I loved most. Traditional teaching required me to spend too much time on classroom management tasks of one kind or another and not on the teaching that was becoming my real passion.
While working with a single student, I could effectively spend my full time in actually teaching. Plus, I developed a great passion for watching students come to new understandings and insights—helping them to develop themselves personally through the things they were learning.
While studying in Oregon I developed a love for studying the sciences but turned away from the medical career path because I didn’t like the culture of learning that was going on.
I thought learning should be enjoyable—an end in itself, to some extent, and not merely a matter of mastering material in order to successfully compete in attaining an academic or professional objective.
A Better Way to Learn
My Masters degree in social work allowed me to integrate my knowledge of education and psychology to my own style of tutoring. I created my own curriculum focusing on what I called The Ecology of Learning and developed a pyramid showing a hierarchy of seven levels of learning that guides the educational process in addressing the whole person. The seven levels include:
- Value—Personal Commitment, Responsibility and Integrity, and a Desire to Succeed
- Skills—Organizational, Communication, Study, and Time Management.
- Social requirements—Study Space, Family and Friend Support, and Resources
- Elimination of Blocks—Intellectual Confidence, Managing Learning Disabilities, Overcoming Test Anxiety, and Emotional Groundedness.
- Content Mastery
- Subject Specific Reasoning Process
- Academic Success
The reason many educational systems fall short is they fail to address the first four fundamental levels, assuming that students come to class ready to absorb and ready to learn. My role is to help students learn to thrive in the face of a system where odds are stacked against them—and to give them the level of instruction that I wished I had had at that age. My job is to complement the learning that takes place in the classroom and the home by filling in the gaps, plus providing a space for students to learn and a process for integrating what they learn. I strive to ultimately reactivate curiosity and love of learning in all my students.
People might call me a generalist, but the fact is I feel like my extensive academic background has served to enable me to be something of a specialist in everything to help teens prepare for and succeed in high school and college—including all levels of math through Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, English, Spanish, French, and History.
I also provide integrated college-admissions consulting, helping kids with expert and personalized SAT prep so they achieve their personal best. Many of my students go on to top California schools like Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, UCSB, UC Davis, UC San Diego, and many of the top Ivy League institutions like Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Dartmouth, and Brown. I have many others who find admission at schools that are the right fit at California state universities like San Diego, Long Beach, Cal Poly, Sonoma, and San Jose.
I do both remedial and enrichment instruction and also work with kids who have ADD, ADHD, and various learning disabilities. I’ve discovered that the key is treating them as individuals. One size never fits all. I change the dynamic by helping each of them to learn how to organize their learning to help them understand the ways in which their particular disability impacts their learning. I then work with them to devise methods to overcome their personal challenges.
I guide students through home study courses in all subjects, as well. I work in an online collaboration with self-paced online courses, using my curricula together with theirs to assist students to complete entire courses in an accelerated time-frame.
I eventually plan to train a network of Accelerated Education Specialists around the US in my approach to tutoring. In addition to my online SAT and ACT courses, I’m in the process of completing a book about how to master the SAT, another for parents about how to provide academic support for their teenage students, and still another on how to write killer college admissions essays. Plus, I’m developing my career as a speaker at schools and other environments where I can help young people change their lives.
Life is good! Helping young people make their way through the tangled web of modern life to levels of genuine academic, professional, and personal excellence always gives me a boost. Plus, I always have my little Boston Terrier, Bella, to make me laugh.
Accelerated Educational Solutions provides expert SAT/ACT prep, academic tutoring in all subjects from 8th-12th grade, and self-paced home study programs to make up academic classes. The Accelerated focus is always on assisting students to develop their study and time management skills, as they develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become solid test takers. Accelerated Educational Solutions helps students achieve academic excellence. We focus on developing strategies which allow students to become confident and self-propelling learners, so they don’t need tutors long term.
For more information or to request a Free 60 minute consultation please email me at Daniel@AcceleratedES.com, or call (925) 219-8516.
I look forward to speaking with you and discussing how to transform your child’s life and open up a world of possibilities to them. 🙂
-Daniel Herzberg, MSW, PHD(c)
Owner, Accelerated Educational Solutions
Accelerated Educational Solutions
5004 Nortonville Ct.
Antioch, CA 94531