Name: Laura Mayer
Center: The Learning Turtle
Location: Washington DC Metro Area: Central Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia
Number of years using SOI: 9
Why did you decide to start using SOI?
I was trained in testing SOI and implementing the modules when I worked for a learning center early in my career in education. I was fascinated by the simple-yet-effective method. Later, as a teacher in a public, suburban high school, I saw the majority of students struggle with the standard curriculum. Accommodations, “pull outs,” during-school homework/help time, and medication all seemed to be quick, temporary fixes (albeit with good intentions). I started testing my own students with SOI and tutoring them several days a week after school. Then I decided to make it my full time job!
Tell us a little bit about how you incorporate SOI into your clinic.
I describe The Learning Turtle as a “holistic tutoring company” because we look for the cause of academic challenges using a variety of perspectives. However, SOI is our cornerstone method. We build cognitive skills in conjunction with academic skills (which are the sole focus of “typical tutoring”). For instance, our SAT prep students work on math problems, reading comprehension, vocabulary, and test-taking strategies (which are all a part of a typical SAT course), but we also focus on visual processing, verbal processing, spatial reasoning, evaluation, etc. (which are the foundational skills that support the former).
Our greater vision, however, is to teach SOI to educators. Therefore, we are also a “tutor training company” that wants to prepare an army of tutors to help struggling students everywhere, but we’ll settle with working in the DC Metro area first!
What is the biggest benefit of SOI?
My specialty in education is the English language; specifically, I taught remedial reading for several years using another researched-based methodology. I did see it help some students, but not many. I still felt something unspoken was amiss.
While teaching that course, I saw the widest range of abilities per class I had ever encountered in my career: ESOL, Special Education, 9-12th graders, reading abilities from 2nd to 8th grade all “under the same ceiling.” Even with a co-teacher and assistants, it was challenging to meet every student at his/her needs AND help raise them to meet the same expectation or curriculum. We all felt like we were being pulled in several directions at once to help these students.
I realized that using SOI enabled all my students to have the same chance at success. It “levels the playing field,” so that Continue reading “Q & A Series II”